President Peter Mutharika has promoted two Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers for heroic acts that saw them escaping from abductions and jungle challenges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The President, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, elevated Corporal George Salimu and Lance Corporal Gift Tatani Nkhoma to the rank of Sergeant, when he met MDF generals and the soldiers at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
The promoted officers were among three Malawian soldiers who resurfaced after they went missing in the wake of fierce fighting on November 12 last year while on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in DRC. Six MDF soldiers died during the fighting and two of the five that went missing are yet to be found.
Mutharika commended Salimu and Nkhoma for their heroism that was also evident in the 850-strong MDF contingent they served in a United Nations (UN) peace-keeping mission under the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB)
Under the FIB, the Malawi troops are operating alongside other peacekeepers from Tanzania and South Africa. They are charged with the mission of neutralising armed groups in DRC’s north Kivu through joint combat missions from time to time.
Mutharika also saluted the security forces for helping to minimise destruction of property and threats to people’s lives during demonstrations which have wreaked havoc across the country after the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
MDF Commander General Vincent Nundwe reported to Mutharika that the Malawian soldiers are doing much in their peace-keeping mission in the DRC.
He cited the case in point of the late Chancy Chitete who showed bravely in the DRC by putting his life on the line to save a Tanzanian soldier and was posthumously given a top UN Peace Award.
Expressing their joy over their promotion, both Salimu and Nkhoma said fellow soldiers are heroic peacekeepers in Malawi and abroad, partly because of the comprehensive training and leadership at MDF.