UN Secretary-General General António Guterres will award the “Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage” posthumously to Private Chancy Chitete of Malawi during the International Day of UN Peacekeepers commemorations at UN Headquarters in New York.
The Diagne Medal, established in 2014 “to recognise uniformed and civilian personnel who demonstrate exceptional courage”, is named for the soldier who saved hundreds of lives in 1994 before he was killed while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda.
The inaugural medal was presented to Captain Diagne’s family in his honour in 2016. Despite a number of remarkable nominations over the past four years, the awarding of the medal to Private Chitite will mark the first time the actions of a UN peacekeeper have been found to meet the standard set by Captain Diagne, a UN statement said.
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. Corporal Omary survived and Private Chitete’s heroism and sacrifice helped the peacekeepers achieve their objective and dislodge the ADF from its stronghold.
“The remarkable actions of Private Chitete helped protect many lives, civilian and military,” said UN Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix. “His sacrifice underscores the dangers our peacekeepers face daily while executing vital protection tasks in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Private Chitete remains an inspiration to all and we are proud to honour his memory and commemorate his brave and selfless action.”
Planning is for Private Chitete’s family to receive the medal on his behalf during Peacekeepers’ Day commemorations in New York on 24 May.