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China To Send 268 Peacekeepers To South Sudan

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China will dispatch a battalion of 268 peacekeepers to South Sudan for a one-year mission.

Officially formed on Wednesday, the battalion will depart from Zhengzhou, Henan Province, in two groups on Sept. 11 and Sept. 23, respectively.

The peacekeepers will be tasked with repairing roads, bridges, and airports, building facilities for water, power and heating supplies, and providing engineering support in mission areas.

To fulfill the mission in South Sudan, the troops have not only conducted training exercises under combat conditions, but also studied international law, diplomatic protocol, the mission area situation, and basic English expressions.

NAN reports that in March, the Chinese engineering unit assumed the task of establishing African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)’s temporary operating base in Golo, an area with volcanic rocks.

UNAMID said the area is dangerous in Darfur, with hostilities between the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM)/ Abdul-Wahid Mohamed Nur faction and the Sudanese army.

The mision said the unit  paved the road linking the base to Golo town in Central Darfur, established the base’s fence and 11 watchtowers, and installed all water and electricity networks together with a total of 4.85 km of communication wires.

He explained that the base, established by the Chinese engineering unit, is composed of residential buildings, offices and other facilities, including an underground shelter.

The mission said the Chinese engineering unit has been providing important and vital services, whereas it contributed to the establishment of the mission’s infrastructures, particularly construction of camps, protective fences and watchtowers.”

It commended the Chinese Peacekeeping Helicopter Unit, which joined the mission in 2017 and is hailed as “the backbone of UNAMID operations.”

The team, which serves 29 field sites of the mission, has implemented 778 flight hours and transported 4,995 peacekeepers and more than 20,000 tons of goods and various materials, said Eissa.

The Chinese helicopter unit comprises of 140 military personnel and four Mi-171 helicopters, and carries out tasks such as air patrol, transport of peacekeeping forces, evacuation of rescued personnel and air supplies.

In early 2008, the UNAMID was deployed in Darfur, a region which has been witnessing military clashes between the Sudanese army and the rebels since 2003, which according to UN statistics has left 300,000 dead and displaced around 2.5 million others.

The UNAMID is considered as the second biggest peacekeeping mission in the world, after the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

China has been actively involved in the UN peacekeeping operations for over 25 years.

There are now 2,622 Chinese peacekeepers putting their lives at risk in restive regions around the world, according to a UN report published in July 2016.(Xinhua/NAN)



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