PETALING JAYA, 10 NOV – Malaysian peace-keepers for Lebanon are adequately trained in improving their physical and mental levels, to be competent as infantrymen in carrying out their duties.
Deputy Defence Minister Adly Zahari said that the Malaysian battalion (Malbatt) 850-11 serving under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) underwent three months of specialised training – encompassing one month of single service training and two months of force integration training at the Joint Force Command at the Malaysian Peace-keeping Centre in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan.
“The training has succeeded in improving the physical and mental level of each member as a competent infantry member to carry out peacekeeping mission duties.
“This integration exercise is also important considering that Unifil’s peacekeeping operation is carried out in Lebanon, which certainly has differences in terms of politics, economy, security threats, topography, climate and culture,” he said after sending-off the second batch of Malbatt 850-11 peace-keepers at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang.
Adly said the involvement of the Malaysian troops in Unifil had clearly gained international recognition and confidence in their discipline, credibility, authority and professionalism.
“There is no doubt of our involvement there and clearly proves that our Armed Forces are capable of playing the role of credible peacekeepers and comparable to those of other countries.
“Our role and involvement is important to prove that Malaysia is committed in carrying out humanitarian aid missions to countries in need, to ensure universal peace and security is maintained,” he said.
The second Malbatt 850-11 batch on their year-long mission was led by its deputy commander Lt Col Zainol Abdul Samad.
The group comprises 216 members, including 16 officers and 193 other ranks, and seven members from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.
They will continue the mission under the operational control of the Unifil West Sector Headquarters.
The contingent will be placed in two permanent settlements namely Ma’rakah Camp and Tibnin Camp and will perform the operational tasks given by Unifil, especially in the area of assigned responsibilities.
Malbatt 850-11 in total has a strength of 854 members consisting of 82 officers and 772 members of various ranks, including three officers and 27 members from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces as well as a civilian financial officer from the Defence Ministry.
It will also see the involvement of a total of 85 female officers and members.
The Malaysian peacekeepers in Lebanon are expected to face greater challenges from the spill-over of the on-going Israel-Hamas conflict in the Middle-East, which has intensified since Oct 7.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had reminded them to be vigilant and on-guard for any eventualities at all times.
The increased tension claimed thousands of lives where it had led to the destruction of property from air-strikes, rocket, artillery and mortar attacks.
Malbatt 850’s camps in Tibnin and Ma’rakah are situated 10 kilometres from each other and located within the ‘blue line’ which is defined by the Golan Heights.
The first batch of Malbatt 850-11 departed Subang last week under the command of Colonel Burhan Sagoni, comprising 218 personnel (49 officers and 169 other ranks).
The remaining 636 peacekeepers are being deployed in four stages between Nov 7 and Nov 16, and would carry out operational tasks assigned by Unifil.
They will gradually replace Malbatt 850-10, whose first group is expected home on Nov 3.
Mohamad said that until now, Malaysia had always been committed to providing support to achieve universal peace under the UN banner and this had been proven through its involvement in 37 missions, either as an observer or peacekeeping force.
Among the missions undertaken were in Congo, Somalia, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, East Timor and in Lebanon. – airtimes.my
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