Indonesia sends Garuda contingent to Congo

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Defence Forces (TNI) Commander Gen. Djoko Santoso on Wednesday sent off a Garuda XX-F contingent of peacekeepers to join the UN peacekeeping forces in the Democtratic Republic of Congo.

Held in a military way, the official ceremony for the departure at the Halim Perdanakusuma airforce base was attended by the Army Chief-of-Staff Gen. Agustadi Sasongko, Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Edi Tedjo Purdijatmo and Airforce Chief-of-Staff Marshal Subandrio.

"The Garuda contingent will help the UN peace mission in Congo and other civic duties like building bridges, water works and others," the commander said.

In implementing their duty, the Garuda contingent technically known as Indonesian engineering company will be under the command of the UN Forces Engineering Monuc HQ in Kinshasa and will be deployed in sector 6 of Ituri Brigade, Bunia.

A 175 member group of the Indonesian servicemen has been trained in constructing buildings, roads, bridges, drainage, runways, landmine detection, power and water supply.

Indonesia has previously deployed its Garuda contingents as peacekeeping forces and observer missions to numerous countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Cambodia, Somalia, Mozambique, Slovenia, Georgia, Afghanistan and the Philippines under U.N. auspices.

Just over the weekend, a battalion of Garuda Bhayangkara police force was sent abroad to join the UN African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as it attempts to restore law and order in war-torn Sudan. (*)

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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