Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), answers reporters' questions at a regular press conference on September 29, 2016. (File Photo)
BEIJING, October 11 (ChinaMil) –Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense (MND), refuted the accusations against Chinese peacekeeping troops in a written reply issued early on Tuesday.
A report published last week by the Washington-based Centre for Civilians in Conflict accused Chinese peacekeepers of their performance during an outbreak of fighting in Juba, capital of South Sudan, in July, according to foreign media reports.
Yang Yujun said that the report's allegations concerning Chinese peacekeepers "is not in accordance with the facts at all and is sheer malicious hype".
Yang introduced that after the conflict in South Sudan broke out in July this year, the Chinese peacekeeping infantry battalion was ordered by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to protect the headquarters of the UNMISS in Juba and the No.1 Refugee Camp, and guarantee the safety of the UN peacekeepers and refugees.
The armed conflicts escalated on July 10 but the Chinese peacekeeping infantry battalion remained at their guard positions. A Chinese infantry fighting vehicle was attacked on the same day by a mortar shell, killing Chinese peacekeepers Li Lei and Yang Shupeng and injuring other five.
Chinese peacekeepers organized reinforcements quickly and continued to carry out tasks assigned by the UNMISS while rescuing the wounded Chinese peacekeepers.
On July 11, the two sides of the conflict used armed helicopters, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons and had a fierce exchange of fire near the UN camps. Some militants sneaked into the No. 1 Refugee Camp and threatened the refugees' safety directly, said Yang.
In order to drive away those militants and protect the refugees, the Chinese peacekeeping infantry battalion dispatched troops immediately to enter the refugee camp to search for the militants.
Since the stray bullets during the conflict caused panic in the refugee camp, some refugees broke the barbed wire and entered the UN camps.
Under the command of the UNMISS, the UN police, Nepalese riot squad and some Chinese peacekeepers tried their best to control the situation, calm the sentiments of the refugees and settle them down properly.
The United Nations is now investigating the performance of the peacekeeping force in South Sudan. Before the findings are published, any unwarranted accusation against the UN peacekeeping operations and peacekeepers is irresponsible, Yang said.