15th October 2020 05:31:51 Hours
The Sri Lankan Force Protection Company (SLFP-Coy) serving the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), together with UN peace-keepers from France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Slovenia, Ghana, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Serbia, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Poland, and Lebanese Armed Forces recently participated in a five-day long direct live firing Exercise, ‘Ex-Steel Storm - 2020’.
The SLFP-Coy with 3 Officers and 27 Other Ranks used four Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) mounted with machine guns, five Multipurpose Machine Guns (MPMGs) and ten personal weapons during this joint-Exercise, designed in order to develop and improve individual shooting skills and confidence in weapons systems, range safety and security measures, capability in drills and operations, serviceability of UNIFIL and Lebanese Armed Forces’ weapon systems, appropriate coordination mechanism and practise necessary liaison procedures between UNIFIL and Lebanese Armed Forces, etc.
Head of the Mission and Force Commander Major General Del Col witnessed the Exercise as the Chief Guest. Deputy Force Commander, Senior Lebanese Military Officers and UNIFIL military representatives were among others who watched the day’s proceedings in the Exercise. The conduct of the event followed strict COVID-19 health guidelines.
The SLFP-Coy is deployed mostly for force protection duties at UNIFIL Headquarters at Naqoura, South Lebanon. Sri Lanka as one of the Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) to the United Nations has been in the practice of sending her troops for UN Peace Keeping assignments since 2004 in large groups after the country became qualified to do so.
At present, Sri Lankan troops, majority being from the Sri Lanka Army have been deployed in Lebanon (UNIFIL), South Sudan (UNMISS), Mali (MINUSMA), Abyei (UNISFA), New York (UNHQ), Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and Western Sahara (MINURSO), either as military observers, Staff Officers, Staff Officer assistants or general contingent troops.