By Xie Qichun and Han Lijian
GAO, MALI, July 18 (ChinaMil) -- The fifth Chinese peacekeeping guard detachment to Mali held a live-fire tactical training exercise codenamed "Operation Oasis" in mid July.
The exercise was carried out in three phase of long-distance maneuver, firepower support and covered retreat against the background of "the guarded convoy being attacked by unidentified armed groups".
During the drill, five kinds of weapons including the antiaircraft machine guns for infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), heavy machine guns and sniper rifles were used with six types of shells fired including the armor-piercing shell, red phosphorus shell and conventional ammunitions.
Since the fifth Chinese peacekeeping force to Mali was in place in late May, the security situation in the Gao mission area has kept worsening, and the Headquarters of the Eastern Sector of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has issued three car bomb attack warnings. The city proper of Gao has witnessed two large-scale demonstrations with UN vehicles being blocked and besieged by the protesting crowds.
In light of the worsening security situation in Gao, the Chinese peacekeeping guard detachment has raised the security level and set up the 24-hour standby mechanism to ensure fast response to any emergencies.