Sun, 16 Jun 2019

Highest UN peacekeeping award to go to Chancy Chitete of Mali

By Jay Jackson, South Africa News
21 May 2019, 05:56 GMT+10

A UN peacekeeper who was killed in the act of saving a comrade will be recognised for bravery when he receives posthumously later this week, the United Nations' highest award for UN peacekeepers.

ChancyChitete, of Mali, was killed in November last year duringanoperationin the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to combat the ADF, an armedforcethat had been terrorizing civilians anddisrupting the UNs ongoing efforts to treat, and halt,the spread ofthe deadlyEbolavirus.

Whilst fighting alongside other Malawian and Tanzanian peacekeepersattached tothe UNMission inDRC(MONUSCO), a UN statement issued Monday said PrivateChiteteand his colleagues came under heavy fire.Heand his teamfought back, allowingothertroopsto tactically withdraw.

Seeinga badly-injuredTanzanian peacekeeper,Corporal Ali KhamisOmary, pinned down andexposed to enemy fire,PrivateChitetedragged him to safetyand administered first-aid: whilst doing so, he was shot and killed.PrivateChitetesheroism and sacrificehelped the peacekeeperstoachievetheir objective ofdislodgingthe ADFforcesfromtheirstrongholdandsavedthe life of CorporalOmary, the UN statement said.

"The remarkable actions of PrivateChitetehelped protect many lives, both civilian and military" UN peacekeeping chiefJean-Pierre Lacroix said Monday. "His sacrifice underscores the dangers our peacekeepers face every day while executing their vital protection tasks in some of the worlds most challenging environments. PrivateChiteteremains an inspiration to us all and we are proud to honour his memory and commemorate his brave and selfless action."

The award, officially namedthe"CaptainMbayeDiagneMedal for Exceptional Courage," whichwasestablished in 2014foruniformed and civilian personnelwho meet thecriteria, is namedafterthe lateUN peacekeeperCaptainDiagne,who saved hundreds of lives inRwanda in1994, beforebeingkilled.

Despitethe nomination of several peacekeepers forexceptional serviceover the past four years, the awarding of the Medal to PrivateChitite,will mark the first time the actions of a UN peacekeeper have been found to meet the standard set by CaptainDiagne.

UN officials hope members ofPrivateChitetesfamily will receive the medal on his behalf during the Peacekeepers Day commemorationsat UN Headquarters inNew York this Friday.

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