Three Zambian peacekeepers who died last year while on peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic and Darfur have been honoured by the United Nations (UN) with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal of Honour.
Last year, Zambia lost three Peacekeepers in the names of Warrant Officer 2nd Class, Boyd Chibuye, Sergeant Naomi Zulu and Inspector Bright Sikalinda who died while on the UN peacekeeping missions.
The three Zambia peacekeepers are among the 61 military and civilian peacekeepers serving in various United Nations peace keeping missions in war-torn countries.
Warrant Officer 2nd Class Boyd Chibuye from Zambia Army died while on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, also called MINUSCA while Sergeant Zulu and Inspector Sikalinda from the Zambia Police died while on the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
Zambia has over the years distinguished itself in peace keeping missions.
Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations and Brigadier General Eric Mwewa, Zambia’s Military Advisor to the United Nations attended the ceremony.
Kapambwe received the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal on behalf of the three fallen Zambian peacekeepers who are among the many who died last year.
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has paid tribute to peacekeepers who in the last 70 years have perished in peacekeeping missions while saving the lives of others.
Guterres has however raised concern over the increasing dangers of peacekeeping across the globe which has seen more than 3, 700 peacekeepers die since the establishment of the first peacekeeping mission 70 years ago.
The UN Chief observed that last year, the world witnessed the death of 61 peacekeepers, the highest number in a quarter of a century, killed in attacks by criminals and terrorist groups.
Speaking at the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal Ceremony which took place in the framework of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers which fell on May 29th, 2018, Mr Guterres said it has become clear that the UN needs peacekeepers who are well-trained, well-equipped, well-supported and with the right mindset.
Guterres said peacekeeping required a clear mandate and the support of the whole international community including the Security Council.He said peacekeeping remained a defining activity for the United Nations and one of the strongest expressions of international solidarity and multilateralism.
“Some peacekeeping missions bore a disproportionate share of the fatalities. In Mali, we lost 42 peacekeepers; 33 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 27 in the Central African Republic.Some of the countries that generously contribute peacekeepers also bore a disproportionate burden. Tanzania suffered 20 losses, including 15 during one single horrific attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last December. I have just returned from Mali, where Chadian peacekeepers suffered 11 fatalities.”“I offer my deepest condolences to all the affected countries, communities and families. I express my profound appreciation for your continued contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping, despite the inherent risks,” Mr Guterres said.