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Ghanaian Peacekeepers awarded UN peace Medals in Bentiu

By Gladys Kole

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Force Commander, Lieutenant-General Mohan Subramanian, made a special trip to present medals of honor to 700 Ghanaian peace keepers in South Sudan, acknowledging their remarkable contribution to UNMISS’s peacekeeping objectives.  

Medal parade held in Bentiu honored Ghanaian peacekeepers serving with UNMISS in Unity State who saved countless lives during climate emergency.

Seven hundred (700) Blue Helmets from Ghana, including 68 women, received UN medals for their brave service in the notoriously challenging environment of Unity state last week, UNMISS reported.

With the ceremony taking place in Bentiu it featured a well-choreographed military parade in which 130 Ghanaian peacekeepers took part, including 30 women.

UNMISS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Subramanian said “in just eight months, this battalion has been a major part of UNMISS’s endeavor to build a durable peace”.

“In the past two years, Unity state has been in the grip of an extraordinary climate crisis and we as the UN family, in partnership with state authorities and communities, have mounted an extraordinary response. Our peacekeepers from Ghana have been instrumental in this response, in addition to their regular protection duties.  These 700 women and men from Ghana have served admirably under the UN flag and it is my honor to pin these medals on them,” said Lt. Gen. Subramanian.

For his part Unity state Governor Joseph Manytuil at the medal pinning ceremony lauded UNMISS peacekeepers for their tireless contribution towards saving lives amid the devastating floods in the state

“Your contribution in ongoing flood responses protected the lives of internally displaced persons and others in Bentiu. In addition to ensuring a sustained peace across Unity state, you put a smile on the faces of the people of Unity state through your numerous interventions, which made lives easier. We can’t thank you enough,” said Manytuil on behalf of the government and people of Unity.

Governor Monytuil also acknowledged that the outstanding peacekeepers provided sanitary supplies and training to women, veterinary services, and handed over essential supplies to schools, leaving a lasting impact on the people they served.

Meanwhile acting Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Unity state, Jane Lanyero Kony, was filled with pride as she looked on.

“Because of the agile and robust response by Ghanaian peacekeepers, UNMISS was able to prevent the Bentiu IDP camp, which houses more than 110,000 people, from becoming submerged. This is a remarkable achievement,” said Jane.

“I urge every member of the contingent—wear your medals with pride not only because you have earned it, but also because you have made your country and the UN proud” she added.

Major Hawa Ackah, one of the honorees, expressed her gratitude, saying, “We are here to help achieve the mission’s mandate. It has been thrilling, fun, and rewarding. This is my first time in South Sudan, and I feel like we have all been able to contribute so much to the people here. So, I am happy to be recognized for my service through today’s medal.”

UNMISS noted that over the years, Ghanaian peacekeepers have proven themselves invaluable in their service to the UN peace Mission in the country.

During their deployment in Unity state, peacekeepers from Ghana went beyond their security and protection duties by engaging in outreach activities with local communities.

One of the most remarkable achievements of the Ghanaian peacekeepers has been cited as their response to the catastrophic breach of the dyke surrounding the Bentiu internally displaced person’s camp on 9 October 2022.

Despite having no formal engineering training, they (peacekeepers) managed to contain torrential waters that threatened to wash away the IDP camp along with UNMISS and humanitarian bases. Their actions saved countless lives.

In attendance at the ceremony was the UNMISS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Mohan Subramanian, state authorities as well as senior Ghanaian military personnel who travelled to South Sudan to attend the event.

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