BD female soldiers in UN mission accomplishing mandate in DRC
Female soldiers of the Bangladesh Army are performing extraordinary roles in the ongoing peace operations under BANRDB in the Northern Sector of Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Brig Gen Chowdhury Mohammad Azizul Haque Hazary, Sector Commander, Northern Sector of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Bunia, told the Daily Observer on Monday that Bangladesh Army for the first time introduced female soldiers to the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC.
This accentuates the fact that the role of female soldiers have evolved within the modern concept of Multi-Dimensional Peace Operations, Brig Gen Hazary added.
Bangladesh rapidly deployed battalion of Female Engagement Team (FET) (BNRDB) in the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in Ituri province of DRC. The Team composed of female soldiers with vast experience has developed trust and enduring relationships with women and children of the local communities they encounter during patrols in the BANRDB area of operations in the Ituri province.
The FET's operational responsibilities in Bunia include the conduct of
routine long, medium and short range patrols. During such patrols, members of the Team encounter deprived women and children who are a substantial portion of the population of Bunia. In order to effectively engage the population, the BANRDB used the FET members.
The FET is used to conduct reconnaissance and battlefield visualization as part of the operational task assigned to BANRDB. The FET also carries out targeted operations as directed by BABRDB. The operations are conducted in highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with the MONUSCO mandate and international law.
The core mandate of the Peace Operations in Bunia is 'protection through projection. The inclusion of the female soldiers of Bangladesh on combat patrols facilitates better Army in UN mission interaction and boosts the confidence of the locals in the communities in the Ituri province. The FET on many occasions has obtained information that has assisted the mission to conduct preventative deployments aimed at protection of civilians.
The BANRDB FET has undertaken a number of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities in rural Bunia as part of the mandate of the mission. They provided educational, medical and socio-economic support to the local people. The aim is to Win the Hearts and Minds of the Congolese people. In Opass village of Bunia the FET distributed books to school pupils and also shared food and drinking water with the children and teachers during such interactions.
The Medical Team of the FET provided general medical care, among others, to the local population during operational visits to the various local communities. Other CIMIC activities undertaken by the FET include visits and donations to orphanages, tree planting exercise and clean-up exercises in the various communities.
The BABRDB FET has already proven to be an invaluable assert for the MONUSCO mission.
Col Imtaj, Contingent Commander of BANRDB, said FET members had performed combat patrols, educational support and role modelling to women. They also engendered a change of mind-set and whip the enthusiasm of the local population of Ituri province.
The confidence of the local population within the local communities has improved as a result of the operations of the FET, he said.
Lt Col Abdullah Ibn Zaid, Director ISPR, said that FET the relationships established by the FET in the local communes has won the hearts and minds of the Congolese people. The FET collect information from local people by local engagement, he said.