The Jakarta Post
After a year serving as peacekeepers in Darfur, Sudan, and an additional two months being held over weapons smuggling accusations, a 138-strong peacekeeping team has arrived back in Indonesia.
All members of the Indonesian Formed Police Unit (FPU) VIII arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma airport, Jakarta, on March 5 in good shape, except for one casualty — Brig. Sumda lost a finger in an accident when fixing a car in Darfur.
Upon their arrival, they were taken to a police training center in Bogor, West Java, for general health checkups — a standard procedure that personnel must undergo before resuming their regular duties.
On Thursday they received medals of honor from the United Nations for the best performance among 13 countries participating in the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur. The officers also received Bakti Buana medals from the Indonesian government.
“The Indonesian Police always dispatch their best officers for every UN mission,” said the National Police’s International Relations Division head, Insp. Gen Saiful Maltha.
Regarding the arms smuggling accusations, Saiful said the case was over, with El-Fasher Airport authorities in Darfur asserting that better procedures were needed to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future.
The Indonesian team denied the smuggling accusations, saying that firearms found among the luggage of its returning personnel belonged to another group, as the result of baggage mishandling.
Meanwhile, Indonesia has dispatched a fresh peacekeeping team, called FPU IX, to Darfur for a year of service. (hol)