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PNGDF SENDS FIRST FEMALE ON UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATION

Acting Chief of Defence Force Commodore Philip Polewara and Major Jacqueline Lilih(Center), and other Command Officers at the farewell ceremony recently. PICTURE SUPPLIED

By Francisca Anania


The PNG Defence Force held a small ceremony at the Command Office Mess in Murray Barracks today to farewell Major Jacqueline Lilih, who will be leaving PNG tomorrow for a UN Peace-Keeping Operation in South Sudan.

The Acting Chief of Defence Force Commodore Philip Polewara said “this is the first time the PNGDF is sending a female officer to the UN Peace- Keeping Operation in South Sudan, and this should encourage females in the Defence Force and other aspiring females to keep on and not give up.” Major Lilih leaves for Sudan tomorrow as a UN Military Observer in the Peace-Keeping operations for 12 months.

This year marks PNGDF’s 14 th deployment and its first female officer’s involvement since its Peace-keeping operations started in 2010. Previous operations saw only male officers been sent and Major Lilih said she was grateful for the opportunity given to her and she is prepared to go out and do her best and return safely. Major Lilih expressed her excitement and gratefulness to the PNGDF and her direct Commander for recommending her for the operation.

“I am a lawyer by profession and I got a civilian job with PNGDF and worked my way through to the military as an officer. I am honored to be given this opportunity and am settled in my heart and mind that I will go out and do my best on what I’m supposed to do there, and return safely.”

She is the only female officer to date who served as the Aide de Campe to commander as part of PNGDF’s reforms in embracing women participation during Brig. Gen Francis Agwi’s term. PNGDF is deploying on UNPKO under UN Military Observer Status and part of the work towards meeting the requirements is to deploy troops on UNPKO.

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