Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) head of operations and training, Major General Alfred Kapinga said this has been possible after the army successfully persuaded the financier of international peace keeping missions—the United Nations—to approve the use of ATCL flights by Tanzanian solders.
This is happening for the first time in the TPDF’s 10-year itinerary of peace-keeping in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur.
“We have been using our own military planes or planes from other countries contracted by the United Nations but now we are delighted with convincing the UN to approve the use of ATCL planes,” he said.
Kapinga said the decision by the army to lobby for ATCL to be contracted by the UN to ferry its officers and fighters to Sudan was informed by patriotism and its contribution in ongoing efforts by the government to enhance the pace of economic growth.
Maj Gen Kapinga used the opportunity to urge TPDF officers and soldiers taking part in peace keeping operations in foreign countries to continue being good ambassadors by exhibiting professionalism and high levels of integrity.
Speaking at the event, ATCL director general Ladislaus Matindi extended gratitude to TPDF for the opportunity, saying it will contribute immensely in improving the national carrier’s performance and portfolio.
“I thank the Chief of Defense Forces General Venance Mabeyo and his team for enabling ATCL to get this opportunity. We will use this opportunity to expand our visibility internationally for the benefit of the country,” he said.
The Commander of the TPDF’s TANZBATT- 13 battalion, Lt. Col Khalfan Kayage who flies to Sudan with the officers and soldiers, said they were motivated to be flying the national flag-bearer and promised to execute their duties diligently while there, to maintain the good name of Tanzania internationally.