Home | News    Friday 18 July 2008

Last batch of Chinese peacekeepers arrives to Darfur

July 17, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur welcomed the arrival of the Chinese engineering which marks the completion of deploying the whole Chinese engineering unit to the war-torn region.

JPEG - 12.9 kb
Chinese peacekkepers following their arrival to Nyala, West Darfur on Jult 17, 2008 (photo UNAMID)

The 172-member troop — including 27 officers and 145 soldiers — arrived on Thursday in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, bringing the total number of Chinese engineers in Darfur to 315 and the total number of UNAMID forces to 8,000.

The Chinese troops, as the two precedent batches, will take part in the construction of the infrastructure and facilities that will allow the deployment of more peacekeepers. Their main tasks are building of roads and bridges, assistance guarantee and digging wells.

The newly arrived force was received by the Joint AU-UN Special Representative Rodolphe Adada and other UNAMID officials who flew to Nyala on Thursday for welcoming the Chinese engineering team.

In the welcoming ceremony Adada denied the evacuation of the peacekeepers from the region and reaffirmed the determination of the peacekeeping mission to fulfil its difficult but noble mission in Darfur despite the attacks against its soldiers.

“Deployment is our priority,” said Adada. “We are not withdrawing; on the contrary we are accelerating our deployment. We are building the strength of the mission so we can protect more personnel and more Darfuri and continue to implement our mandate.”

General Agwai has emphasized the lack of engineering capacity as one of the principal constraints delaying deployment of more peacekeepers to this under-manned mission.

Apart from their work on the Supercamp in Nyala and other UNAMID bases, the engineers will also assist local communities in Darfur with Quick Impact Projects, such as well-drilling.

“With the arrival of the Chinese engineers, we will make an actual contribution to the security, stability and development of Darfur,” said Major Xu Hanfa, deputy commander of the Chinese engineering unit.

In November 2007, China has sent a 143-men advance troop to Darfur, being the first batch of UN-AU peacekeepers in place in Darfur.

So far, the advance troop has leveled up more than 70,000 square meters of land, dug and transported more than 9,300 cubic meters of earth and stone and built a new camp for themselves.