US thanks Malaysia for saving their soldiers in Somalia

PORT DICKSON: The United States has finally expressed appreciation for the sacrifices and contributions of Malaysian peacekeepers for saving their soldiers in Mogadishu, Somalia on Oct 3, 1993.

The gratitude was expressed by Tom Kelly, the Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau Of Political-Military Affairs yesterday, 20 years after the famous incident which formed the basis for the movie ‘Black Hawk Down.’

Kelly said Malaysian peacekeepers had proven their mettle and prowess in performing their duties under the United Nations (UN) banner.

“In global peace operations, we always admire the great capacity of Malaysian peacekeepers and benefited from their heroism and bravery.

“A Malaysian peacekeeper lost his life when rescuing American soldiers in Mogadishu 20 years ago,” he told reporters after handing over Full Training Capability and launch of the Malaysia Peacekeeping Centre Blueprint, here yesterday.

Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) Chief, Gen Datuk Seri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin was also present.

In the incident 20 years ago, a group of American soldiers were caught behind enemy lines after Somali militias shot down two Black Hawk helicopters over Mogadishu.

Malaysian peacekeepers and Pakistani peacekeepers under UNOSOM II (United Nations Operation In Somalia) then assisted Amercian soldiers to rescue the trapped group.

The rescue operation was successful but a Malaysian soldier was killed while eight others were injured.

Washington had never officially recognised the role of Malaysian peacekeepers in the rescue mission in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The movie ‘Black Hawk Down’ directed by Ridley Scott in 2001 also blanked the part played by Malaysian peacekeepers in rescuing the American soldiers.

Kelly said the Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre proved that Malaysia has the best peacekeepers.

“All Malaysians should be proud of what the Malaysian defense force has achieved here,” he added.

Source: Bernama

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com