UN gives highest peacekeeping award to Chad captain killed in Mali

United Nations, May 25 (IANS) Captain Abdelrazakh Hamit Bahar of Chad, who was killed as a peacekeeper in Mali, is honoured with the United Nations’ highest award for valour for his courage, a UN spokesman said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will present the honour at a ceremony to his family on Thursday, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, said the UN chief’s Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Tuesday.

It is only the second time the UN Security Council-authorised Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage has been awarded, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Abdelrazakh made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of peace,” said UnderSecretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

“We mourn his loss alongside his family, colleagues and the nation of Chad. His selfless service serves to inspire us all and we are proud to honour him.”

Abdelrazakh’s willingness to risk his own life to save others exemplifies the courage and dedication of the more than 1 million peacekeepers who have served on the frontlines of conflict since 1948, Lacroix said.

It also highlights the increasing danger peacekeepers face as they carry out their vital work in some of the world’s most challenging environments.

Abdelrazakh served in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, as the Deputy Commander of the Chadian Special Forces Company beginning in January 2021, the Spokesman said.

He was deployed at the Aguelhok Super Camp in northeast Mali when attacked by an armed terrorist group attempting to seize the base and its outposts.

“Abdelrazakh led a bold counterattack to defend the camp, protect the lives of his colleagues and prevent any civilian casualties,” Dujarric said.

“While attempting to secure the perimeter, Captain Abdelrazakh noticed armed assailants entering a house near the camp. Determined to ensure that they did not harm colleagues and the civilian population, he single-handedly led an operation to clear and secure the house. In doing so, Captain Abdelrazakh was shot and killed.”

The medal was named in honour of Captain Mbaye Diagne. He saved hundreds of lives while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda in 1994 before being killed in action.

The award was established in 2014 by the Security Council as an official award to recognise uniformed and civilian peacekeepers who demonstrate exceptional courage.

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