Gen Daopong Rattanasuwan, army chief-of-staff, presided over a ceremony to welcome back the first batch of 201 soldiers from Thai-Darfur Task Force 980 from Sudan.
Gen Daopong thanked all the soldiers, who made their country proud of them and were praised by the United Nation (UN) and Sudanese.
They did their mission according to the King’s Sufficiency Economy philosophy which was used as a model by other forces who joined the mission.
Meanwhile, the Army is mourning the death of a Thai marine, Petty Officer 1st Class Pipatpoom Srikadkao, who joined the peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan and died of severe malaria last Wednesday. An autopsy was conducted on his body, which is expected to be sent home by next week at the latest, while his family has been compensated by the Royal Thai Navy.
All soldiers who returned home today underwent blood testing. More soldiers will travel home on August 24, 26 and 28 after they completed their nine-month mission.
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).
With Unamid, the Thai troops was tasked with conducting patrols, providing protection to civilians, UN facilities, convoys and UN and other humanitarian workers, as well as providing medical service. Their assignments complement the peace process in Darfur.
Thailand’s Army chief is sending the second contingent from the Thai armed forces to Sudan on Aug 19 as the first batch of Thai troops have completed their rotation and are gradually returning home.