…Second in eight days
From ABDULGAFAR ALABELEWE, Kaduna
Barely eight days after 800 men and officers of the Nigerian Army were deployed on a peace-keeping mission to Darfur Region of Sudan, another 800 all ranks have been deployed to Africa Union/United Nations Hybrid Operations in Darfur. The troop is to replace another battalion that has completed its mission and ready to return to Nigeria.
Addressing the 333 Battalion troop Commanded by Lt. Colonel T. E. Gagariga at the graduation of the troop from its pre-deployment training from the Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Centre (NAPKC), Jaji, near Kaduna, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Armoured Division, Major General Jack Nwogbo, told them to fight tirelessly to discharge their mandate.
This GOC warned the troop to avoid engaging in drug trafficking and abide by the United Nations zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation. According to the GOC, who was represented by 3 Division’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier General James Akomolafe, the 4-week quality training given the troop at NAPKC was to refresh, polish and add some knowledge and expertise in their various fields.
“I must state categorically that you must fight to discharge your mandate when the need arises, especially when there is no alternative if you are to protect yourselves, your colleagues, or persons and property in your care,” he said. He, however, charged the troop to respect the cultural and religious sensitivity of the people of Darfur and discharge their duties with high level professionalism.
Earlier in his speech, Commandant of NAPKC, Major General John Samuel Zaruwa, said the graduands have received adequate training to ensure effective performance in any peace keeping operation with specific interest within the Sudan environment. He noted that the nature of the Sudanese operational environment makes the Advance Rifle Marksmanship training particularly important.
“Additionally, the exercise setting was designed to give the troops the opportunity to practice tactical and operational skills required in African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operations in Darfur, based on lessons we have learnt from the Nigerian Army’s long engagement in Sudan,” he added.
He explained that the aim of sending another troop to Darfur just a week after a troop of same number was deployed in the region was due to the fact that there are four units in Darfur and the troops were placed on rotational operation of six months each.