Nepalese peacekeepers celebrate Army Day
UNIFIL’s Nepalese peacekeepers celebrated “Army Day” earlier this week in their main base in Meiss ej Jabal, south-eastern Lebanon.
In his address to Nepalese peacekeepers at a special ceremony attended also by senior Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) officers and local leaders on 4 March, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col said the Nepalese troops have been an “integral part” of the Mission.
“You constantly carried out your duties with the highest standards, working in partnership with the international community, the Lebanese authorities and the LAF as well as with the local population, contributing to our mandate,” he said.
The UNIFIL head continued: “In reaffirming the outmost commitment of UNIFIL peacekeepers to work alongside our Lebanese friends to shape the essential path to peace and stability for south Lebanon, I urge you all to keep working with the same great determination and high level of proficiency displayed thus far, working towards a sustained peace.”
While welcoming the guests, Nepalese senior national officer Colonel Suresh Kumar Baniya said, “In UNIFIL, regardless of our different geographic locations, races and creeds, we have stood together, to raise the UNIFIL flag high achieving the mission’s mandate.”
It was Lebanon where Nepalese soldiers served – in 1958 with the United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL) – for the first time in any UN peacekeeping operation. They are one of the oldest troop contributors to UNIFIL. A total of 29 Nepalese UNIFIL soldiers have paid the ultimate price in the service of peace in south Lebanon.
UNIFIL’s Deputy Force Commander Major General Shivaram Kharel, UNIFIL Sector East Commander Brigadier General Antonio Romero, LAF’s South Litani Sector Commander Brigadier General Roger Helou and local mayors were among the dignitaries attending the ceremony.
Nepali Army Day has been observed on Maha Shivaratri, the day of Hindu Lord Shiva’s incarnation, since 1935.