KATHMANDU, JAN 28 - Nepal Army (NA) is all set to dispatch 140 soldiers in peacekeeping mission in Mali.
The peacekeepers will carry out security-related stabilisation tasks as a team of the UN Multi-Dimensional Integrated Stabilatization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in the West African country.
This is the first ever deployment of Nepali peacekeepers for the purpose of Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), disposing improvised explosive devices and mines, the NA said in a statement.
A team of British explosive experts had arrived in Nepal to assist the NA in preparations for UN peacekeeping operations in the strife-torn Mali.
The country has been embroiled into internal turmoil after the 2012 coup, following which separatist rebels and later Islamic militants have seized control of northern part of the country.
The army is preparing to dispatch at least 850 peacekeepers to South Sudan after the outbreak of ethnic conflict there. On Jan 9, Nepal government had decided to send more peacekeepers in the South Sudan on request from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
Meanwhile, NA said the number of Nepali soldiers serving in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations has crossed 100,000.
At a programme organised at Birendra Peace Operations Training Centre on Tuesday, NA said it has made a remarkable progress in peacekeeping missions. A total 100,142 NA personnel participated in 37 UN missions in the span of 54 years. Currently, the NA has been deployed across 13 missions in different places across the world.
NA has four officers in the UN headquarters Department of Peacekeeping Operations and liaison officers at Tampa Bay,Florida in the United States.
Currently, NA has some 3,711 soldiers serving in 13 different missions around the world and Nepal ranks seventh in the world as a troop contributing country.
Since the first Nepali contingent, Purano Gorakh Battalion, was deployed in Egypt in 1974, a total of 59 Nepali peacekeepers have lost their lives during the duty and 59 have been injured.
“NA peacekeepers performances in the various missions have been highly appreciated by UN and local people,” NA Spokesperson Brig Gen Jagadesh Chandra Pokhrel said. NA said that it has been contributing outstanding force commanders, elite military contingents, impartial military observers and other staff officers to the UN.
Posted on: 2014-01-29 09:23