09th March 2019 21:14:35 Hours
The canine contribution to the ongoing humanitarian de-mining project of the Army, consequent upon an initiative taken jointly by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake and the Chief Field Engineer was further enhanced when the Mine Detection Dog (MDD) fleet of the Humanitarian De-Mining Unit (HDU) of the Engineer Brigade received the 4-year old, ‘Nam,’ of the Belgian Malinois breed with the best patronage, extended by the US-based Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI).
Born in Bosnia on 15 May 2015, ‘Nam’ has been serving in the mine-infested northern Iraq as a member of the MDD team before she was brought down to Sri Lanka with the international MDD trainer, Mr Adis Pelto, thereby multiplying the Army’s MDD fleet to eight dogs.
After reviewing the national need and its status quo to prioritize and expedite de-mining operations of the Army, the broad understanding and goodwill that prevails between the Commander of the Army and the US MLI enabled the Army to receive her as a gift. Upon completion of basic quarantine procedures, the international MDD trainer in Sri Lanka subjected her to ‘obedience and orientation’ trainings inside the Boo Oya Engineer Brigade Headquarters in the company of an Army dog handler before she was declared acclimatized to perform her duties.
A ceremony to hand over ‘Nam’ officially to the HDU of the Engineer Brigade took place a few days ago at Boo Oya Engineer Brigade Headquarters. Brigadier A. N Amarasekera, Commander, Engineer Brigade of the Army received the dog from the MDD trainer, Mr Adis Pelto after exchanging respective documents. Several Senior Officers were also present during the occasion.
As per records, the Army de-miners are currently conducting de-mining work in the general mine-riddled areas in the country. A total of 25.61 sq km land area is yet to be cleared by the HDU of the Army, according to the Engineer Brigade.