US military learns from Africa

Ambassador David Young with MDF soldiers

The United States government has hailed Malawi for its commitment to supporting peacekeeping operations in Eastern Congo which has reinforced the Malawi Defence Force (MDF)’s reputation as a dedicated and reliable security partner.

US Ambassador to Malawi, David Young made the sentiments at the Graduation of Malawi Peacekeeping Battalion 14 (MALBAT 14) at Chikala Hills Training Area following the completion of its three month pre-deployment training.

He hailed their role as peacekeepers in preventing future conflicts and atrocities and building the path to a day when many displaced persons can safely return to their home countries.

The Envoy stated the soldiers are representing the best of Malawi in this process and demonstrating to countries across the continent what leadership means.

He reminded them of the task they have in maintaining this excellent reputation as a disciplined and capable partner in the region noting that the skills developed during the training will serve them well in their upcoming assignment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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Ambassaddor Young with MALBAT 14 instructors 

The Envoy stated that engagements with the MDF have also taught the US military a great deal on responding to regional security issues in Africa.

“The US military partnership with the Malawi Defense Force reflects our mutual values, our dedication to peace and security, and a commitment to safeguarding civilian populations in areas of conflict. We do this while maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct and an emphasis on respect for human rights above all else. I look forward to continuing this important relationship in the future.

“Your experiences in MONUSCO and other peacekeeping operations allow you to offer insights into these operations that most US military members don’t have. We walk away from our engagements with the MDF impressed with your knowledge and experiences. This helps us better understand the security situation and reassess our approach to supporting peacekeeping operations in Africa”.

The pre-deployment training has been a multinational effort, with American, Brazilian, British and Malawian instructors.

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The US Envoy shakes hands with one of the soldiers. Pics by US Embassy-Public Diplomacy section 

Young was upbeat the drill will mitigate the risks and complexities in Eastern Congo, especially to the local communities.

“Progress may seem slow at times, but UN peacekeeping operations continue to contribute to global peace and conflict resolution. Your efforts will contribute to the safety and security of the Congolese people, as well as to security throughout the Great Lakes Region. This mission is inherently dangerous, and I applaud the brave soldiers who have volunteered to participate. I would especially like to take a moment to acknowledge the Malawian soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in previous peacekeeping deployments”.

He noted each group of instructors brings a unique perspective on training and each individual brings his or her own unique experiences describing it as an amazing group that has made possible the intense and successful training.

The Ambassador commended the establishment of the MDF’s Senior Non Commissioned officer’s (NCO) Academy and Staff College as an example of how other countries in Africa can improve their own military educational institutions and for opening these schools to international military students.