March 05, 2012
The Ethiopian peacekeeping force deployed in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, under the auspices of an AU-UN hybrid operation, has been honoured with medals for what the government describes as an outstanding peacekeeping operation.
The awards comes after a high level delegation, led by Ethiopian minister of defense, Siraj Fegesa, paid a visit last week to Ethiopia’s peacekeeping forces in Darfur.
The awards were given to three Ethiopian peacekeeping units in west Darfur in recognition to what Addis Abba describes as their the relentless efforts troops are playing to bring about sustainable peace and security in Darfur.
Conflict in Sudan’s western region began in 2003 when rebels, mainly from African groups took up arms against the government over marginalisation and discrimination.
Siraj Fegesa said the Ethiopian peace force is carrying out their duties with strong military discipline. The peacekeeping operation is not only vital to Sudan but also to peace and stability of the region, he added.
This not the first time for the Ethiopian peacekeeping force in Darfur to be honored medals. In 2010 the Ethiopian military contingent in El Geneina, West Darfur, received similar UN medals for role in mission.
The Ethiopian minister has held talks with UNAMID officials over the mission. Figessa reaffirmed that his country will continue to extend support for the success of the mission. Ethiopia’s Darfur peacekeeping mission consists of an infantry battalion and engineering unit, as well as multi-role, reconnaissance and transport unit.
The Ethiopian peace force also provide transport service; conduct security patrols within their area of responsibility, to enhance security and encourage confidence within the local population, conduct escorts for humanitarian convoys and accomplishes other peacekeeping related operations.
Ethiopia has contributed over 2,000 Blue Helmets to UNAMID, as well as five tactical helicopters, which were deployed in February 2010. Addis Ababa is the third biggest troop contributor to UNAMID, one of UN’s largest and most difficult missions in the world.
One UNAMID peacekeeper has been killed and five others wounded since the beginning of 2012. The joint UN-AU mission has lost 35 peacekeepers since the take over from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) at the end of 2007.
In February rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) held a long-range UNAMID patrol for entering a territory they control. The group, in a show of force retained the two Sudanese interpreters and a Yemeni police adviser for additional 24 hours before the return of the 55 peacekeepers to their base.
Source, Sudan Tribune
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