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China's first peacekeeping helicopter unit arrives in Darfur

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-06 14:35

KHARTOUM -- Two copters of the China's first peacekeeping helicopter unit air transport advance team arrived safely at the EI Fasher Airport of the Darfur area in western Sudan.

The helicopters, carrying 15 soldiers and some two tons of cargo, took off from the Khartoum International Airport and flew four hours to the destination area over a distance of 900 km.

Chen wenlong, the commander of the unit, told Xinhua that they have the determination and confidence to fulfil the duty and complete the peacekeeping mission.

Sheng ming, a pilot of the helicopter unit, said the harsh weather conditions and the recent ongoing high-pressure working performance has further strengthened their fighting morale and ability. They all wish to win honor for China.

China's first helicopter unit air transport advance team containing 24 people arrived in Sudanese capital Khartoum in two batches to join the UNAMID in June. The rest of the soldiers as planned will take another two helicopters to the area soon.

Once the air transport advance team have joined the construction advance team, they will be put under the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur's (UNAMID) command and carry out missions including air patrol, transport of peacekeeping forces, evacuation of rescued personnel and air supplies.

The regional situation in Darfur area has been turbulent since 2003. The conflicts have caused 300,000 deaths and displaced over 2 million people, according to the UN.

The UNAMID was deployed in Darfur to protect the civilians and secure the safety there in July 2007. In the same year, China sent the first peacekeeping force to Darfur region of Sudan, becoming the very first peacekeeping force apart from the African Union countries into the area.

China has been actively involved in the UN peacekeeping operations for over 25 years.

There are now total 2,515 Chinese peacekeepers putting their lives at risk in restive regions around the world, according to a UN statistics published in June 2017.

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