China's helicopter unit joins peacekeeping mission in Darfur

Zhang Tao

KHARTOUM, June 11 (Xinhua) -- China's first helicopter unit on Sunday arrived in Sudanese capital Khartoum to join the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

The arriving unit is composed of 12 soldiers out of a 140 strong force to be sent in batches as part of China's participation in the UNAMID.

The team arrived along with two Mi-171 helicopters and other equipment, where two more similar helicopters are to be sent later to make a total of four Mi-171 helicopters.

The helicopter unit is from the 81st Group Army of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), where it will carry out tasks such as air patrol, transport of peacekeeping forces, evacuation of rescued personnel and air supplies.

Guan Aibing, Military Attache at the Chinese Embassy in Khartoum, said to Xinhua that "The Chinese government is concerned with achieving peace in Sudan's Darfur region. This unit will constitute China's contribution to the peacekeeping operations in Sudan."

"Soon these helicopters will be deployed in Darfur region to take part in the peacekeeping operations there," he noted.

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.

In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping committed 8,000 troops to the UN peacekeeping standby force, a fifth of the 40,000 total troops committed by 50 nations.


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