António Guterres will award the Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage to the late Private Chancy Chitete of Malawi on Friday, 24 May, during the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers commemorations at Headquarters in New York.
Established in 2014 “to recognize uniformed and civilian personnel who demonstrate exceptional courage”, the Medal is named for Captain Diagne who saved hundreds of lives in 1994 before he was killed while serving as a United Nations peacekeeper in Rwanda.
The inaugural medal was presented to Captain Diagne’s family in his honour in 2016, but despite a number of remarkable nominations over the past four years, the awarding of the Medal to Private Chitete will mark the first time the actions of a United Nations peacekeeper have been found to meet the standard set by Captain Diagne.
In November 2018, peacekeepers from Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania serving with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) came under heavy fire while conducting an operation in the eastern part of the country against an armed group that had been terrorizing civilians and disrupting the vital Ebola response. During the operation, Private Chitete saw a badly wounded peacekeeper, Corporal Ali Khamis Omary of the United Republic of Tanzania, who was unable to move and was exposed to enemy fire. Leaving his unit, Private Chitete single-handedly brought his wounded comrade to safety, sustaining fatal injuries while providing life-saving first aid. Corporal Omary survived and Private Chitete’s heroism and sacrifice helped the peacekeepers achieve their objective of dislodging the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) from their stronghold.
“The remarkable actions of Private Chitete helped protect many lives, both civilian and military,” said Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix. “His sacrifice underscores the dangers our peacekeepers face every day while executing their vital protection tasks in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Private Chitete remains an inspiration to us all and we are proud to honour his memory and commemorate his brave and selfless action.”
Private Chitete’s family will accept the Medal on his behalf during the Peacekeepers’ Day commemorations in New York.
For further information, please contact Aditya Mehta of the Department of Peace Operations at tel.: +1 917 367 5378 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.