MinDef hosts religious ceremony for IMT-13

National 2 minutes, 5 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Ministry of Defence (MinDef) yesterday held a religious ceremony to pray for the success and safety of the Bruneians in the 13th contingent of the International Monitoring Team (IMT-13) who are scheduled to depart for Mindanao, Philippines this Thursday.

In an interview with media, head of the contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Abidin Hj Timbang said that the contingent, including himself comprises eight Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) personnel and an officer from the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF).

“To be able to lead this contingent is a great honour and I am grateful to have been presented with this opportunity. InsyaAllah with the help of my team and our unwavering trust in the Almighty, we will be able to carry our duties to the best of our ability,” he said.

The IMT is a Malaysian-led peacekeeping mission that is tasked to maintain the ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who have been fighting for an autonomous homeland since 1970.

“Among our responsibilities is to monitor the situation in Mindanao and maintain the security (during the ceasefire) so that there won’t be any undesired outcomes,” he added.

Lt Col Abidin said that once in Mindanao, officers under the IMT will be divided into four team sites, with him leading Team Site 1, while the remaining team sites will be led by his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts.

When asked about the training the Bruneian contingent went through to prepare for the IMT-13, he said that they completed a two week pre-deployment training that was more knowledge oriented, briefing the IMT-13 with the latest updates in regards to the ceasefire in Mindanao.

“As members of the RBAF, we are always training, and we will always be prepared because that is just part of our job (and) due to being part of the IMT-13 we have gone through our regular training regiment and fine tuned it in way that will benefit us once we’re there (Mindanao),” he said.

The religious ceremony began with the recitation of the verses from Al-Quran, followed by mass Asar prayers and doa selamat prayers by the Imam of the Bolkiah Garrison Prayer Hall.

Present at the ceremony was the Commander of the RBAF, Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih Abdullah.

Also in attendance were members of the Defence Executive Committee, service commanders, military and civilian directors and senior officers and staff of the Ministry of Defence and the RBAF.

The Brunei Times