Feb 02, 2019

Defence Ministry in tug-of-war: Mali peacekeepers in danger Featured

While the Defence Ministry is in a tug of war, the lives of around 200 Sri Lankan forces engaged in peace keeping activities in Mali are in danger, it is reported.

The reason for this danger is the government’s failure to fix jammers to their convoy vehicles, a request that has been made by the troops for the past 1 ½ years.

This is said to be the toughest peace keeping engagement which spans 1300 km across Africa’s Sahara desert.

The Peace Enforcement troops are said to be repeatedly targeted by the terrorist groups in that country in bombing attacks.

According to Defence Ministry sources, tenders had been called for the purchase of jammers from Pakistan to prevent the bomb attacks targeting the peacekeeping troops using remote controllers, but it’s been 1 ½ years since the tender process had been completed but nothing had been done so far.

The death toll of the peace keeping troops in Mali rose to 179 with the January 25th bomb attack at the Duwensa desert which took the lives of Captain Dinesh Jayawickrama and Corporal Samantha Wijekumara.

The vehicle that came under attack was a Chinese manufactured WMZ military vehicle which could not withstand the bomb attack, which killed two peacekeepers and seriously injured another.

The troops had requested for these jammers from the moment they engaged in peacekeeping missions in Mali and although the President had issued orders for the purchase of these jammers, it had not been done due to the tug of war between the Defence Ministry Secretaries.

It has been estimated that each of these jammers costs around Rs. 10 million.