Troops on pre-deployment training at the UN-certified Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji

Troops on pre-deployment training at the UN-certified Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji

29 May, 2013

NIGERIA had the largest number of
casualties among international peacekeepers last year, according to the United Nations (UN), which honoured its peacekeepers Wednesday at its headquarters in New York.

While 111 peacekeepers died last year,
Nigeria alone had 17 fatalities, more than 10 per cent and Nigeria is the fifth largest contributor of peacekeepers to the UN with 4,736 serving worldwide. On Wednesday, the International Day of
United Nations peacekeepers was
observed, marking “the fifth year in a row the United Nations will honour more than 100 Blue Helmets who lost their lives the previous year while serving the cause of peace.”

A statement from the UN Secretariat
added that “this sombre milestone is a
stark reminder of the risks incurred by
individuals who put their lives on the line when deployed to UN missions around the world.” Among the peacekeepers who died in 2012 are 17 from Nigeria, making the country the UN member-state with the most human sacrifice for world peace last year.

The fallen Nigerian peacekeepers were
listed as Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Abel,
Corporal Julius Emmanuel, Lance Corporal Bashir Garba, Corporal Thomas Idu and Staff Sgt. Absalom Umar who lost their lives while serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia. Others are Lance Corporal Sunday Afolayan, Sgt. Omega Agbalo, Lt. Martins Anthony, Corporal Suleiman Bako, Corporal Fali Buluma, Lance Corporal Oko Idiku, Lance Corporal Sanusi Jibrin, Lance Corporal Inalegwu John, Sgt. Birabi Nkpara, Sgt. Joseph Ojelade, Lance Corporal Sarki Samaila, and Lance Corporal Abdullahi Shawai who lost their lives while serving with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur.

In a message to mark the day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “To meet
emerging threats and rise to new
challenges,United Nations peacekeeping is adapting its policies to better fulfill its mandates to bring lasting peace to war- torn countries.” The UN Secretary-General further said that while “we welcome these advances, we acknowledge that peacekeeping will
always carry risks.”

He added that unidentified assailants had recently ambushed and killed peacekeepers in the DRC, Sudan and South Sudan, while blue helmets serving in the Middle East had been detained. The UN scribe disclosed that 111 peace-
keeping personnel died last year, and
more than 3,100 lost their lives during the UN 65-year history of peacekeeping,
adding “we salute their bravery and
mourn their passing.”

The International Day of United Nations
Peacekeepers was established by the
General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute
to all men and women serving in United
Nations peacekeeping operations for
their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour
the memory of those who have lost their

The General Assembly designated May 29
as the day, as it was the date in 1948
when the first United Nations peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine. This year’s commemorative ceremonies
come at a time when the services of
United Nations peacekeepers continue
to be in great demand. There are nearly
80,000 military personnel, 12,500 police
officers, 17,000 international civilians and national staff serving in 15 peacekeeping operations on four continents.

“UN Peacekeeping is constantly adapting to new challenges,” said the Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous. “We are expanding not only in size but in the range of environments we are asked to deploy to, in the tasks demanded of us and in the tools we are using. Peacekeeping has never been more dynamic or more flexible than today.”

To honour the fallen peacekeepers and
those who continue to serve in the cause of peace, several events were held at United Nations Headquarters in New York yesterday and across the world. Ban oversaw a solemn wreath-laying
ceremony in honour of all fallen peacekeepers, and made remarks at a
ceremony where the Dag Hammarskjöld
Medal was awarded post-humously to 103 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations in 2012, including the 17 from Nigeria.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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