Malawi peacekeepers get ready to deploy to DRC with UK support
Fifth battalion completes UK supported peacekeeping pre-deployment training for operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Malawi, through its military — the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) — is successfully making a positive impression as a professional and active troop contributor to United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, having committed battalions to the Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) from the height of the post-electoral crisis in 2011 to mid-2013 and to help protect vulnerable citizens from rebel groups in eastern DRC from late 2013 up to date.
The UK has been one of the leading supporters in enabling Malawi to fulfill her peacekeeping ambitions through provision of training and material support. Eighty UK military trainers have prepared a total of 3,420 Malawian peacekeepers for deployments in the complex peacekeeping theatres. MDF’s Peace Support Wing at the Malawi Armed Forces College also received UK funding towards its establishment.
During the closing ceremony of the pre-deployment training for 9th Malawi contingent, that will deploy in the DRC as MALBATT 5, the British High Commissioner to Malawi, Ms Holly Tett, commended Malawi troops for the exceptional reputation they have developed in peacekeeping through the performance of previous MALBATT battle groups.
Ms Tett said:
“The long-suffering people of the DRC have very few guardian angels to look up to, you need to fill this gap. You all need to conduct yourselves in a manner that honours your fine military heritage and stands proud against the tyranny of those that have long exploited the people of the DRC. The UK’s support to Malawian troops in peacekeeping operations is yet another positive outcome when two Commonwealth partners work together”
In his remarks, Commander of the Malawi Defence Force General Griffin Spoon Phiri said it was a proud moment for MDF to be able to generate a force, MALBATT 9 FIB 5, to represent Malawi in DRC, as this was a vision that once seemed impossible. Phiri thanked the British government for the support that has made MDF to be a shining example in Africa and the world at large.
MALBATT 5 Battalion comprising 850 personnel, 56 of which are women, will deploy later in May to Eastern DRC, on the border with Uganda, where they will confront notorious rebel groups such as Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU).
Malawi’s troops will fight as part of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), also comprising troops from South Africa and Tanzania, which has an unprecedented UN mandate to go after and neutralise the armed groups that cause untold atrocities to civilians and prevent the attainment of stability in Eastern DRC.
The 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland conducted the training with support from the British Peace Support Team based in South Africa.