The United States has donated almost $1.3 million in military equipment to the Malawian Defense Force, which will use it for peacekeeping operations and training.
The equipment included tents, sandbags, helmets, and body armour. It will be used to support 850 Malawian soldiers deploying later this year for United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The equipment was handed over in a formal ceremony at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe, Malawi on 16 May. During the handover, US Ambassador Virginia Palmer recognized the contributions Malawi has made to support UN peacekeeping missions in recent decades and honored the Malawian peacekeepers that gave their lives protecting vulnerable civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.
“We, as Americans, know the indescribable pain felt when our uniformed family members deploy abroad in defense of the helpless and never return,” she said. “These shared experiences are why we take our military partnership so seriously. Today we are handing over nearly $1.3 million in new equipment, including more than 400 ballistic helmets and vests, because we value the lives of our partners and trust in Malawi’s dedication to future peacekeeping operations.”
In June, a team of US military trainers and civilian advisors is due to work alongside Malawi Defence Force instructors and the British Peace Support Team to conduct pre-deployment training for the 850 Malawian soldiers preparing to deploy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The US trainers will focus on teaching UN pre-deployment training materials and tactical skills, including casualty evacuation, convoy operations, and logistics.
The United States Embassy in Lilongwe coordinated the military equipment donation through the Global Peace Operations Initiative, a US government programme established in 2005 to promote international peace and security by enhancing partner country capabilities to effectively train, deploy, and sustain soldiers for UN peacekeeping operations. For more than a decade, the US government has provided Malawian peacekeepers with military equipment, pre-deployment training, and advisory assistance through Global Peace Operations Initiative funds.
Malawi’s contribution to peacekeeping was recently recognized by UN Secretary-General General António Guterres who awarded the “Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage” posthumously to Malawian Private Chancy Chitete last month.
Last November, Tanzanian and Malawian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) came under heavy fire while conducting “Operation Usalama” in the eastern part of the country against the ADF, an armed group terrorising civilians and disrupting vital Ebola response.
During the operation Private Chitete saw a badly wounded Tanzanian peacekeeper, Corporal Ali Khamis Omary, unable to move and exposed to enemy fire. Leaving his unit, Private Chitete singlehandedly brought his wounded comrade to safety, sustaining fatal injuries while providing lifesaving first aid.
Earlier this month Guterres commended Malawian Captain Wales Aidini and Lieutenant Zimveka Chatsika for their “exemplary courage” during a military operation conducted in Eastern DRC on 18 November 2018.