UN Mission In Liberia Decorates Namibian Peacekeepers

By Josephus Moses Gray

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 4, 2004

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on June 3rd presented medals to Namibian troops on a peacekeeping mission in Liberia at a well organized and elaborate ceremony. The ceremony is one of series of similar occasions held for other countries contributing to the UN mission to Liberia.

Namibia total gallant men and women in Liberia is 855 including 844 troops, six civilian police, four staff officers and three military observers. It has the responsibility of securing and safe guarding the Liberian western corridor between Liberia and Sierra Leone where it deployed on February 22, 2004, under chapter 7 of the United Nations charter.

The occasion took place in Sinja, the Administrative seat of Garwular District, Grand Cape Mount County, while activities that marked the occasion included a grand parade by the Namibian peace keepers, general salute, inspection of parade by the Officer in charge who is also UN Secretary General Deputy Representative for Rules and Laws to Liberia, reading of citation, presentation of gifts and the distributions of medals, among others.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Officer in charge of UNMIL, Ambassador Souren Saredyarian told the Namibian troops that the medals were in recognition of the dedicated and positive contributions the Namibians are making in Liberia, since their arrival in the country to serve under the UN mission.

According to Ambassador Saredyarian, the Namibian peacekeepers are playing a vital role in restoring calm and security to Liberia especially in Grand Cape Mount County where the troops are assigned and added that the Namibian peacekeepers have brought new hope to the suffering people of Liberia.

He said the Namibian troops have created a safe and secure environment for the people of Liberia but warned that their interaction with the downhearted people of Liberia is crucial for peace in the country, cautioning the Namibians to take their responsibilities very serious.

The UN Secretary General Special Deputy Representative for Rules and Laws used the occasion to paid special tributes to the man and women serving under the Namibian peacekeeping force to Liberia.

The Namibian contingent commander, Lt/Col. Erastus Kashopola, in his address delivered at the occasion said since their deployment in the country, they have patrolled and protected the general area of Grand cape Mount . According to him, the Namibian battalion comprises of two Mot Inf Coys, two rifle companies, headquarters company and fire support company while the battalion is equipped with 10 Wolf APCS, 12 Cassip APCS and 11 WER Wolf APCS.

In a power language, the man heading the Namibian troops said his men have a capability of lifting up all its personnel and double lifting their equipments and recovery capability for all of their vehicles, adding that the mission will return home upon completion of its tour of duty in Liberia.

In his statistical report, Lt/ Col. Kashopola said half of the unit comprised the founder members of the Namibian Defense force and noted that Lt/Gen. Daniel Opande was instrumental in the formation of the Namibian Defense Force and two third of its battalion had served in deferent peace keeping missions including Cambodia, Angola, Ethiopia and Eritrea and the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC).