Brunei Peacekeepers in Mindanao Philippines
THE BRUNEI TIMES 16 SEPT 2016
BRUNEI continued its commitment to protect the ceasefire in Mindanao, Philippines, following the deployment of new peacekeepers in the International Monitoring Team (IMT).
A send-off ceremony was held at the Rimba Air Force Base yesterday, where Deputy Defence Minister First Admiral (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz Hj Mohd Tamit presented the national flag and IMT arm badge to members of the 13th contingent.
Headed by Lieutenant Colonel Abidin Hj Timbang, the peacekeeping mission comprised seven Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) personnel and a Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) officer.
Brunei joined the Malaysian-led IMT in 2004 with the primary mission of monitoring the ceasefire agreement between the Philippines military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who have been seeking for the autonomy of the Moro people since 1970s.
“To be able to lead this contingent is a great honour and I am grateful to have been presented with this opportunity,” said Lieutenant Colonel Abidin in a previous interview with local media.
Speaking at a religious ceremony in honour of the 13th contingent of IMT on Tuesday, he said the Bruneian peacekeepers underwent a two-week pre-deployment training and were briefed with updates of the ceasefire ahead of their deployment.
The contingent head explained among their responsibilities will be to monitor the situation in Mindanao and maintain the security to prevent “any undesired outcomes”.
“We are always training and we will always be prepared, because that is part of our job. Due to being part of the IMT, we have gone through our regular training regiment and fine-tuned it in a way that will benefit us once we’re there,” he added.
Meanwhile, emotions ran high yesterday morning as family members bade farewell to loved ones prior to their departure onboard the Royal Brunei Air Force CN-235 aircraft.
Harniyanty Abdullah said she was proud that her brother, Captain Haren Suhandy Abdullah, was among the few selected to participate in IMT, but added she felt sad to be away from him throughout the year-long deployment.
“Four of my siblings and my brother-in-law are in the military, but he’s the first to be deployed on a peacekeeping mission,” she said.
Hj Awang Hj Besar, whose brother-in-law Second Warrant Officer Sablee Hj Damit joined the latest contingent of IMT, echoed similar sentiments and prayed for the well-being as well as safety of the Bruneian peacekeepers in Mindanao.
“I hope they will always be in good health, so they are able to carry out their responsibilities. My advice to other families would be to remain patient and pray for their safe return,” he said.
Present at the ceremony alongside family members were RBAF Commander Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih Abdullah and RBPF Commissioner Dato Paduka Seri Hj Mohd Jammy Hj Muhd Shah Al-Islam.
Also in attendance were Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Datin Paduka Hjh Suriyah Hj Umar and Philippines Ambassador to Brunei Nestor Z Ochoa among other officials.
The Brunei Times