Send-off ceremony for the contingent of the Serbian Armed Forces to the UN Mission in Central African Republic

Thursday, 30.8.2018 | Multinational Operations

Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin and SAF Chief of General Staff General Ljubiša Diković, have attended the send-off ceremony for the 8th SAF contingent to the UN Mission in the Central African Republic at Banjica 2 barracks, today.

Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin and General Ljubiša Diković, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, with members of the extended collegium, have attended the send-off ceremony for the 8th contingent of the Serbian Armed Forces to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) at Banjica 2 barracks, today.

A number of 70 members of the Serbian Armed Forces will set off for that African country, and in the next six months they will be engaged in the deployable medical treatment facility role 2 on providing medical treatment to the forces in the MINUSCA operation.
Addressing the Serbian peacekeepers, their families and commanding officers, Minister Vulin reminded us that it has been for the 8th time that we are sending our best ones where it is the hardest.
- It has been for the eighth time that we are going to treat someone else's wounds in a distant country and to alleviate the effects of wars, conflicts and hatreds. We have selected those that we are sending off both as experts and as persons, and we have sent them to spread the glory of our country and to bring this honourable flag back always champed by even greater glory. The best proof of what kind of experts you are is the fact that our mandate, which was initially only to treat members of the United Nations, is now extended, because the members of the European Union, the diplomatic representatives and the top-level political leadership of the Central African Republic, fought and won you to be those who would treat them. It tells what kind of experts you are and the evidence of what kind of people you are is the fact that you are going there leaving here your families and that you will fight to make life easier for some other people, the minister of defence said, adding that “we are probably the only ones who can do it”, as a people who got acquainted with someone else's pain. 
He also pointed out that we are people who know how painful wounds can be and what it feels to see the left and abandoned child, but also what death and pain and violence and injustice mean, and that it is why they respect and love us so much.
- It is up to you to preserve and enhance the reputation of the pure name your predecessors left behind as preparation for your arrival, and that you know when you come back home that you left space for some other rotations, some other people. So that, when they come there they can be respected and loved in advance, just as it was done for you. We will think of you, take care of you. Every morning we will know if you are well and we will make sure that everything is fine, but we will wait for you to return, Minister Vulin said adding that the families will think of their peacekeepers, but that their nights without dreams will pass faster as they know that they are doing a big thing taking care of them.

The minister of defence told the Serbian peacekeepers to look after themselves and take care of themselves.
- Your first and foremost task is to return to us and tell us a great and important life story. To return to us just as you are, healthy and courageous, richer for another experience and the feeling that you have someone to return to and see who is waiting for you – Minister Vulin said.
At today's ceremony, the Minister of Defence handed over the flag of the Republic of Serbia to the commander of the 8th rotation of the Serbian contingent, Colonel Zoran Janićijević, from the Planning and Development Department of the General Staff, who gave the minister of defence assurances that he will honourably and proudly carry the flag of the Republic of Serbia in the Central African Republic.
Speaking about the expectations before their departure, Colonel Janićijević said that it is most important that all Serb members safely return from the African country.
- I expect also that we do our job for which we are going to the peacekeeping mission in a professional way, as we are expected to do, which is why our Military Hospital exists in the city of Bangui, said commander of the contingent of the 8th rotation, the upcoming peace mission being the third in his career. 

Colonel Dr Nebojša Đenić, commander of the Serbian military hospital in the 8th rotation, head of the surgery of the Niš Military Hospital, had the first contact with the Central African Republic in 2010, and five years later, in the second rotation, he was the Chief Surgeon of the Serbian Military Hospital.
- The challenges are familiar to me, they are multiple, covering primarily treatment of patients with malaria, which is the number one disease, but on the other hand there is war trauma and everything that follows a complex peace operation – Colonel Dr Đenić said.
Dragana Barbulović, a senior nurse at the National Poison Control Centre at the Military Medical Academy, will be the main nurse of the Serbian Military Hospital.
- It is for the first time for me to go to a peace mission and I am looking forward to it. I have heard a lot and I have great expectations. My force of 48 members of the medical team is the most numerous and I have a great responsibility, and that is what I also expect from them, Dragana Barbulović said, adding that the mission includes complex challenges, but that she was confident that the medical team was ready to use all their knowledge and expertise and to successfully respond to all tasks.

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