Navy compensates Thai sailor dead of malaria in Sudan mission

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BANGKOK, Aug 17 –  The Royal Thai Navy has compensated the family of a Thai sailor who joined his country’s peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan and died of severe malaria there Wednesday morning.

Petty Officer 1st Class Pipatpoom Srikadkao will be posthumously promoted to lieutenant commander and his family will receive about Bt2.3 million.

Thailand’s Army chief plans to send the second contingent from the Thai armed forces to Sudan on a humanitarian mission on Friday (Aug 19) as the first batch of Thai troops have completed their mission and are gradually returning home.

Gen Theerawat Boonyapradap, deputy commander-in-chief, chaired the teleconference with Col Narong Suankaew, commander of the Thai-Darfur Task Force 980 in Sudan, who is ready to hand over the task to Lt Col Narongrit Panikabutr who will lead the second unit of Thai soldiers to take over the mission on Aug 22.

The Thai-Darfur Task Force 980 left Thailand for Sudan on Dec 4, 2010 on a mission to join the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

In UNAMID, the Thai troops will be tasked with conducting patrols, providing protection to civilians, UN facilities, convoys and the UN and other humanitarian workers, as well as providing medical service. Their assignments will complement the peace process in Darfur.

Gen Prayuth Chanocha, the army chief  will preside over the send-off ceremony of the second batch of 812 soldiers at the 11th Infantry Division on Aug 19.  The first batch of 203 Thai soldiers moved from Mukjar to Nyala to prepare for the trip home Aug 20-21 while the rest of troops will return later after the second batch is oriented and learns to carry on the mission.

At the ceremony sorrow was expressed over the death of Petty Officer 1st Class Pipatpoom Srikadkao. The UN will send his body back home within the next few days. The Royal Thai Army has heightened preventive measures in medicine to help protect the new batch of Thai soldiers from communicable diseases.