Lieutenant General Zakaria Sheikh Ibrahim, Chief of General Staff of the Djibouti Armed Forces, awards Independence Day Medal to the PLA medical personnel stationed at the Support Base of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Djibouti. /Photo by Modern Navy
By Su Zhihong and Tan Longlong
DIBOUTI, January 20 --Ten medical personnel stationed at the Support Base of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Djibouti were bestowed Independence Day Medal signed by Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti, at an awarding ceremony held at an Artillery Regiment of the Djiboutian Army on the morning of January 16, local time.
Key members of the Djibouti military and troops of the PLA Support Base in Djibouti attended the ceremony held according to the national second-class honor protocol.
The Independence Day Medal of the Republic of Djibouti was inaugurated on June 27, 1978 when the country became independent. It is the highest honor awarded by Djibouti to its citizens and international friends, used to be awarded to no more than three persons at a time. However, this time ten Chinese service members were conferred at the same time by Lt. General Zakaria Sheikh Ibrahim, Chief of General Staff of the Djibouti Armed Forces. This marks the first time in history both in terms of the number of medals conferred and the scale of etiquette.
After the awarding ceremony, Lt. General Zakaria delivered a speech, saying: “Since the opening of the PLA’s Support Base in Djibouti, it has actively engaged in humanitarian relief operations including public welfare in assisting impoverished students, medical assistance, as well as rescue and disaster relief, bringing about genuine help to the Djiboutian people and fully demonstrating China's responsibility as a major country.”
He also extended his sincere congratulations and gratitude to the ten Chinese medical personnel who have successfully completed their tasks and are about to return to China as a shift.
According to reports, since its establishment, the base has helped the Djiboutian side carry out various common surgery operations. Chinese military doctors were sent to the General Hospital of Djibouti for over 100 times, giving instructions to more than 200 Djiboutian medical personnel, and guiding more than 40 cases of surgery, including two breakthroughs of bronchoscopic extraction of esophageal foreign bodies and transbronchial needle aspiration operation in Djibouti.
In December 2019, the base launched the “Operation Bright Eyes”, a special medical service operation in cooperation with the Djibouti Ministry of Health, which has brought light to 103 local cataract patients for free. This move has received wide attention and high acclaim from the Djiboutian side, and paid off politically, diplomatically, militarily and socially.