Sri Lanka Army announced that a contingent of over 100 female soldiers are trained, ready and are awaiting an opportunity to be deployed in UN peacekeeping missions.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya speaking to Daily Mirror online said the training of female soldiers for peacekeeping missions was initiated in 2010, as per a request of the UN for a contingent of female military personnel to be deployed in peacekeeping missions established particularly in the African region, to focus on incidents of gender based violence.
Although the female soldiers of Sri Lanka Army are now trained and ready, the Brigadier said they have not had the opportunity of being deployed in a peacekeeping mission to use their skills, so far.
Meanwhile, the sixth contingent of Sri Lanka Army is scheduled to leave the country early next week, to report to duty at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Brigadier Wanigasooriya said the contingent consisting of 150 persons will mainly include personnel from Sri Lanka Army Light Infantry Regiment as well as those from the Sri Lanka Army medical corps, Mechanized Infantry Regiment, Commandos, Engineer Services Regiment, Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Sri Lanka Army Services Corps as well as Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police.
The contingent commanded by a Sri Lanka Army Light Infantry officer is due to leave Sri Lanka in two batches - the first 75 officers and the commanding officer on July 16 and the rest by the end of July.
At present, apart from Lebanon, Sri Lanka Army has deployed personnel in United Nations Peacekeeping missions in Haiti (750) as well as military observers and staff officials in several other peacekeeping missions around the world. (LP)