MALI / BANGLADESHI PEACEKEEPERS

23-Apr-2019 00:04:00
Bangladeshi peacekeepers are traveling to remote parts in Northern Mali to provide security and free medical consultations to villagers in remote areas. MINUSMA
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STORY: MALI / BANGLADESHI PEACEKEEPERS
TRT: 4:00
SOURCE: MINUSMA
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 27 MARCH 2019, BATTAL, REGION OF GAO, MALI
SHOTLIST
1.Various shots, peacekeepers walking
2.Various shots, peacekeepers getting ready for patrol
3. Various shots, UN convoys
4.Various shots, peacekeepers searching for explosives
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Major Sadiqur Rahman, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):
“Actually, if you see the ground, this is a canalized approach. On this side, there are many trees, and on the other sides there are some hard rocks. Our vehicles cannot pass. So this is a centralized approach, so my vehicle needs to pass through this particular road. Clearing land is a painstakingly slow process, involving serious risks. If you see this road, it is easy for insurgents to hide explosive devices underground to get a better target on us. When we clear it, the convoy will resume.”
6. Various shots, local residents
7. SOUNDBITE (French) Agaichou Alkayedou, Patient:
“I would like to thank MINUSMA. It is not only today that they have come to see us. They always keep an eye on the village. We are very poor, we have no strength, women have no strength, as well as the men.”
8. Wide shot, Alkayedou getting medicine from a peacepeeker
9. SOUNDBITE (French) Agaichou Alkayedou, Patient:
“MINUSMA has always secured our village. It is important to mention that this is not the first time they visit us and organize medical consultations for the villagers. At the beginning or at the end of the each month, they pass by here to visit us. I am very grateful.”
10. Various shots, peacekeepers giving out medical supplies to residents
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Major Saeed Siddique, Doctor, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)
“The last 10 months, we have done medical campaigns in so many different places, around the Gao cities and some borders areas like Organona, Fafa. Whenever we go to these places, we treat the patient. The local population are very happy, and welcome us. After one campaign, they eagerly wait for the next one.”
12. Various shots, local residents receiving medical supplyies
STORYLINE
Bangladeshi peacekeepers are traveling to remote parts in Northern Mali to provide security and free medical consultations to villagers in remote areas.

It’s 6 a.m. at the Bangladeshi military compound in the city of Gao, in the North of Mali. The complex, composed of several tents, is as busy as a bee hive, for in the desert areas the days start much earlier than in the rest of the world.

In front of the logistics tent, the Bangladeshi peacekeepers carefully load tables, chairs, floor mats and medicines into the back of several armored personnel carriers (APC), while nearby, with still-unbuttoned life jackets resting on their shoulders, a team of doctor blue helmets discusses the day’s mission - to patrol to remote villages to create protective presence and deter further hostilities and to deliver medical assistance, as part of civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) activities.

By the time the Malian blazing sun manages to break through Gao’s final layer of foliage, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) convoy is already on the road, deep into the Malian’s part of the Saharan desert. Destination: Battal, a village where no health services exist, and as remote as it can be.

Shortly after takeoff, the visibility went from poor to zero as the harsh desert climate and extreme heat become big challenges. However, the biggest threat are the landmines, always present in the roads in the North of Mali.

The “search and detect” Bangladeshi team is backing up the mission. Major Sadiqur Rahman is 30 years old. He has served as a doctor with the Bangladeshi contingent for a year now.

SOUNDBITE (English) Major Sadiqur Rahman, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA):
“Actually, if you see the ground, this is a canalized approach. On this side, there are many trees, and on the other sides there are some hard rocks. Our vehicles cannot pass. So this is a centralized approach, so my vehicle needs to pass through this particular road. Clearing land is a painstakingly slow process, involving serious risks. If you see this road, it is easy for insurgents to hide explosive devices underground to get a better target on us. When we clear it, the convoy will resume.”

Delivering basic medical assistance, a challenging endeavor. After a two hours journey, the medical team part of a heavy-armored convoy enters the road of Battal. They are right into the heart of the Saharan desert and are greeted by crowds. The remote village along the Niger River is lined with mud-brick houses, home to 3,500 people.

As usual, peacekeepers bring their equipment to rest under the shade of the few favorably positioned trees. Within minutes, the place turns into a basic medical clinic, with free consultations. A long queue of patients awaits, seating quietly on the ground, on mats, ready to be examined, waiting for their turn, while nurses prepare the prescription orders from the doctor.

Agaichatou Alkayedo, a 58 years old widow, mother of 12 children, says she has been enduring pain in her joints, related to rheumatism, in addition to aches in her bones and muscles.

SOUNDBITE (French) Agaichou Alkayedou, Patient:
“I would like to thank MINUSMA. It is not only today that they have come to see us. They always keep an eye on the village. We are very poor, we have no strength, women have no strength, as well as the men.”

SOUNDBITE (French) Agaichou Alkayedou, Patient:
“MINUSMA has always secured our village. It is important to mention that this is not the first time they visit us and organize medical consultations for the villagers. At the beginning or at the end of the each month, they pass by here to visit us. I am very grateful.”

During the day-long medical campaign, 182 patients have been consulted.

SOUNDBITE (English) Major Saeed Siddique, Doctor, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)
“The last 10 months, we have done medical campaigns in so many different places, around the Gao cities and some borders areas like Organona, Fafa. Whenever we go to these places, we treat the patient. The local population are very happy, and welcome us. After one campaign, they eagerly wait for the next one.”

Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations in the world and the third contributor country to the UN Mission in Mali with some 1,500 personnel, including medical team supporting both peacekeepers and people in remote areas.

The UN mission in Mali distinguishes itself from other UN missions for being ‘the most dangerous active peacekeeping deployment in the world’, with 123 blue helmets killed by hostiles forces and dozens more killed by accidents and illness since its creation.
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