12 December 2018

Malawi: Mutharika Assures UN of Malawi's Continued Peace Mission - 2 MDF Soldiers Still Missing in DRC

President Peter Mutharika has assured the United Nations (UN) that Malawi Defence Force (MDF) troops will continue participating in UN peace missions in the world despite the death of its six soldiers working under the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Peacekeeping Mission (MUNUSCO) in DRC.

President Mutharika: We will not be deterred by the cowardly acts

President Mutharika hosts United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix

UN officials meeting President Mutharika

Listening to President Muthatrika address the UN envoy

President Mutharika win group photo with UN delegation at Kamuzu Palace

President Mutharika win group photo with UN delegation at Kamuzu Palace

The six fallen soldiers - Lt Aubrey Kachemwe, Corporal Jonathan Kapichira, Private Chauncey Chitete, Sergeant Steve Kambalame, Private Simplex Kafelakaso and Private Benjamin Songela - were part of UN peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) supporting an offensive by local forces against militia group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

Mutharika, who is also Commander-In-Chief of the MDF, said this at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when a delegation from the UN led by Jean Pierre visited him to offer United Nation's condolences over the death of the Malawian soldiers.

"It is worth pointing out that since Malawi started rendering services to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations; this is the first time our country has lost more than one solider during oneoperation. The Malawi Defence Force is equally dismayed since these were highly trained and experienced soldiers," said Mutharika.

He said the "cowardly act" by the militia groups should not deviate the world from supporting DRC to conduct a free, fair, peaceful, transparent and credible elections.

The Malawi leader said the killing of its soldiers will never distract Malawi's support towards peace keeping missions.

"Despite the tragic death of our soldiers, Malawi is still committed to the promotion of peace and security in DRC and the world at large,"said Mutharika.

He said the promotion of peace and security is one of the main pillars of Malawi's Foreign Policy.

President Mutharika said Malawi is a major contributor of troops to the United Nations for the world peace.

"Such being the case, I request you to consider allocating some Staff Officers slots within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to the Malawi Defence Force.

"In addition, the Malawi Defence Force sustains itself through Contingent Owned Equipment and Self Sustenance funds. May you therefore consider it through timely reimbursement of these funds," said Mutharika.

President Mutharika also informed the UN delegation that two Malawi soldiers are still missing a month after they were first reported so in DRC.

"Let me also take this opportunity to inform that there are still two missing soldiers in the DRC due to the operation that saw six soldiers' dead. It is my hope that through the concerted effort of both the United Nations and our troops who are there, the missing soldiers will be found alive and in good health," said Mutharika.

The two soldiers - sergeants Chancy Mwakalenga and BonifaceNoah - went missing during a raid on a rebel stronghold belonging to ADF in Beni on November 13 2018.

Malawi, whose army has never engaged in any serious cross-border conflict since independence from Britain in 1964, has contributed battalions of peace-keeping troops to the troubled region.

Countries contributing troops to UN peacekeeping missions are well paid for sending their personnel - about $1,410 (£1,017) per month per soldier.

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