Ninety-nine members of the 19th Chinese peacekeeping force to Liberia salute before boarding a UN charter plane bound for China on March 1, 2017, Beijing Time. (81.cn/ Liu Jian)
BEIJING, March 1 (ChinaMil) -- The Chinese peacekeeping force to Liberia fulfilled its peacekeeping missions entrusted by the United Nations (UN) and began returning to China, according to the Peacekeeping Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People’s Republic of China.
At 0:00 on March 1, Beijing time, the 99 out of the 124 members of the 19th Chinese peacekeeping force to Liberia embarked on their trip back to China from Monrovia, capital of Liberia, by taking a UN charter plane. The other 25 members of the Chinese peacekeeping force, who are led by Commanding Officer Huo Cangxing, will leave Liberia and return to China later after completing the arrangement of sea transportation of equipment to China, according to sources.
Being the last peacekeeping force dispatched by the Chinese military to Liberia, the 19th Chinese peacekeeping force, consisting of a 44-member transport detachment and an 80-member engineer detachment, was deployed to Monrovia in September 2016.
Located in western Africa, Liberia has a territorial area of 110,000 square kilometers and a population of 4.4 million. The civil war in the country in the late 1980s caused 200,000 deaths and made 2.5 million people homeless. In September 2003, the UN Security Council passed the 1509th Resolution to establish the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
In December 2003, the Chinese military began to dispatch a 558-member peacekeeping force, consisting of engineer, transport and medical detachments, to take part in UNMIL’s peacekeeping operations. Among these detachments, the 275-member engineer detachment deployed to Zwedru in eastern Liberia was responsible for such tasks as construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, barracks and airports. The 240-member transport detachment stationed in Monrovia undertook personnel and material transport missions, and the 43-member medical detachment was based in Zwedru.
The Chinese peacekeeping force to Liberia were downsized in September 2015 and June 2016 respectively. Since 2003, a total of 10,297 Chinese peacekeepers have been dispatched to Liberia, including 10,168 troops in organic units and 129 military observers or staff officers.
In the past 13 years of participating in UN peacekeeping operations in Liberia, the Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachments have completed the road survey and repair of 7,500 kilometers, and construction and maintenance of 69 bridges. The transport detachments have transported 930,000-ton materials of various kinds with an accumulated travelling distance of 13 million kilometers. The medical detachments have received and treated patients for more than 50,000 cases.
Farid Zarif, special representative of the UN Secretary-General, recently said that the Chinese peacekeeping force sets a model for all peacekeeping forces in Liberia.