KUALA LUMPUR – A total of 850 officers and personnel from the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) joined the Malaysian Battalion (MALBATT) 850-8 to carry out the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeping mission Oct 1.
Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz said the troops were divided into four groups, where the first comprising 216 individuals led by MALBATT Commander Col Azudin Hassan left for Lebanon yesterday evening.
“MALBATT 850-8 is the 8th MALBATT team since 2007 being sent as a peacekeeping force to enforce Resolution 1701 of the United Nations Security Council for 12 months, beginning Nov 14.
“The battalion will continue the UNIFIL mission under the control of the Western Sector Headquarters and will be placed in two permanent settlements, namely the Ma’rakah and Tibnin camps,” he said in a press conference after officiating the ceremony to send off the troops at the Subang Air Base, here.
In the meantime, he said the MALBATT 850-8 peacekeeping team was the first one being sent off without the presence of their family members at Subang Air Base, to comply with standard operating procedures (SOP) following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ikmal Hisham said the MALBATT 850-8 had undergone ‘Force Integration Training’ (FIT) in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan from June 29 to Aug 21.
Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Force Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang said MALBATT 850-8 had undergone a quarantine period of two weeks before leaving for Lebanon today.
“This means, prior to this, (since the last two weeks) they have had no direct contact with their family members, but the team will also be quarantined for two weeks when they get there to ensure they are free of COVID-19,” he said.
Affendi said MALBATT 850-7, which is scheduled to arrive in the country tomorrow, will undergo a quarantine period at the United Nations Village in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.