Bangladesh singled out for MINUSMA commitment

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Bangladesh’s commitment to peace in Mali started with air and airfield support and grew to signals and an infantry quick reaction capability over a decade, a United Nations (UN) medal parade heard ahead of mission closure at year-end.

The medal parade in Kidal presided over by MINUSMA Force Commander, Brigadier General Mamadou Gaye, saw 75 Bangladeshi peacekeepers honoured with the UN medal – “not just an emblem of honour, but recognition of unwavering dedication, loyalty, and service rendered toward fostering peace and stability”.

In December 2014, the Bangladesh Air Force’s Airfield Services and Management Unit deployed to the northern Kidal region. It stood out as the sole contingent offering airfield services in the area, according to a MINUSMA statement. “Expanding its sphere of operations, a detachment was further dispatched to the northernmost Tessalit town in July 2016. Without exception, each rotation contingent showcased the highest levels of professionalism and commitment throughout their deployment.”

The Bangladesh commitment to the troubled, landlocked West African country expanded to signallers and QRF troops with airfield support ongoing. This, Gaye said, showed operational readiness, responsiveness and achievements, “all the more commendable given the challenging environment in which they operated”.

Bangladeshi contingents, according to Gaye, served as “a lynchpin in the [Malian] security architecture due to their unparalleled operational flexibility and professionalism”.

The Bangladesh commitment to Mali is not without sacrifice and the UN mission is known as one of the most dangerous. Fourteen Bangladeshi military personnel are among the 310 peacekeepers killed – 174 in hostile actions – since mission operationalisation.