Some 850 Malawi Defence Force soldiers completed a two months pre-deployment training on Saturday at Chikala MDF camp in Machinga in readiness for a Democratic Republic of Congo mission where they will join that government forces to deal with rebel forces.
Speaking at the graduation of the 850 soldiers, Secretary for Defence, Dr Mac Phail Magwira said Malawi will be deploying the soldiers next month to replace another group which is currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of Force Intervention Brigade.
He said Malawi has an obligation to contribute to international peace efforts such that deployment of the 850 soldiers is part of Malawi’s United Nations and SADC peace commitment.
Malawi, the Republic of South Africa and Tanzania soldiers will join Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers to deal with rebel forces in the East of the country.
He therefore called on the MDF soldiers to continue maintaining their discipline and dedication to duty during the DRC mission.
The US deputy Ambassador to Malawi, Michael Gonzales said the mission in the DRC is important as Malawi will be contributing towards peace and stability in the Eastern DRC.
He said Malawi has been a superb peace keeping force and reliable contributor of troops to peace keeping.
This is the seventh time the US Army is providing support in training the MDF, according to Gonzales.
Force Intervention Brigade Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Blaise Saenda said the two months training was a successes ahead of the nine months stay in the DRC.
He said the 850 soldiers will join other forces to protect civilians amidst gross human rights violations by rebel forces.
Saenda said this is the third time Malawi is sending soldiers to DRC in force intervention.
Chikala training was facilitated by MDF, US Army and British Support Team under code MALBAT FIB 3.
In his remarks, Brigadier General Woodisse of the British Support Team said he was impressed with the Malawi soldiers as they are “brave, disciplined and fit”.
He expressed hope that the Malawi troops will excel in their mission though Force Intervention is a different mission that demands high level of operations.
Malawi has been sending soldiers for peace keeping missions to Ivory Coast and other war torn countries under the auspices of the United Nations.
Force Intervention is a new concept that uses force to protect civilians, according to MDF.