200 peacekeepers from the MINUSCA Indonesian Engineering Company were, on 17 August 2021, awarded United Nations service medals for their contribution to peace and stability in the Central African Republic (CAR).
“You have brought your own legacy to this country’s future,” said the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Lizbeth Cullity while presiding over the festive medal ceremony held in Bangui, in the presence of the MINUSCA Deputy Force Commander Major General Paulo Maia Pereira, Indonesia’s ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Usra Hendra Harahap, and the CAR Minister for Interior and Public Security, Michel Nicaise Nassin.
The role of the military engineering company is critical to Mission mandate implementation. The peacekeepers have helped advance MINUSCA’s primary task to protect civilians through providing support for road, bridge and airfield maintenance among others, to ensure the mobility of MINUSCA troops in Bangui, Berberati and Bossembele (southwestern CAR). They have conducted civil-military cooperation activities to strengthen relations with local communities, and notably assisted the national energy company ENERCA to erect high-voltage electricity pylons that had collapsed, plunging the country’s capital into sustained darkness.
Cambodia, Pakistan and Peru also have military engineering units serving with MINUSCA across the CAR.
The seventh engineering company, deployed to the CAR in September 2020, mirrors Indonesia’s decades-long commitment to the pursuit of global peace. The southeast Asian nation has, over the years, contributed to UN peacekeeping efforts in many a far-flung corner of the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Haiti, Georgia, Liberia, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan.
The contingent – which was also celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day – marched in a colourful parade and offered a glorious glimpse of Indonesian culture through song and dance during the medal ceremony.
Commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Parlindungan Simanjuntak, noted that the country’s men and women in uniform were proud of having been part of the UN peacekeeping Mission in the CAR, and hoped that their service would inspire their compatriots back home to follow in their footsteps.
Ms. Cullity described the country’s contribution as invaluable in sustaining peace for millions of Central Africans while expressing gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for its “unwavering support” to stability in the CAR since the inception of the Mission.
An almost 400-strong Indonesian contingent comprising of both police and military peacekeepers is deployed to MINUSCA, and forms part of over 2,700 Indonesian peacekeeping troops currently serving in UN peace operations around the world.