By TAUNA GEORGE
PNG Defence Force Major Larry Laori will be leaving for Sudan in West Africa tomorrow to take part in a one-year United Nations peacekeeping mission.
Laori, from Gulf, will be the first PNGDF officer to take up a UN peacekeeping job in 2016.
He will be followed by three other officers next month who will be posted to Darfur and Zubar respectively, also in South Sudan.
Laori, who has spent more than 20 years in the force, is no stranger to conflicts, having spent time in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) mission in the Solomon Islands in 2005.
“My attachment to RAMSI has given me the confidence and insight into what a battlefield would be like. And that has really strengthened my resolve,” he said.
“The 12-month deployment is significant not only for me, but for the PNGDF and country as a whole. I am privileged to be selected to undertake this mission in Dafur, Sudan.”
Laori said he would do his best to represent and uphold the image of the PNGDF and the country while performing his duties.
“I wish to thank the chief of enforcement Colonel Siale Diro and PNGDF for having the confidence in me to take up this new role overseas as a peacekeeper,” he said.
According to Colonel Diro, PNGDF has been sending troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in West Africa since 2011 with rotations done annually.
“In 2010 an International Obligations Bill was passed in parliament which enabled PNGDF to engage with UN for peacekeeping duties overseas, to contribute to peace operations,” Diro said.
He said PNGDF soldiers would not necessarily be armed but would observe and negotiate peace on the ground while being supported by troops from various UN member countries.
By TAUNA GEORGE