China’s first peacekeeping helicopter unit has arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to join the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
The first elements of the team, comprising two Mi-171 helicopters and 12 personnel, arrived on 11 June, reports Xinhua.
The unit, part of the 81st Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), held a departure ceremony in Beijing on 19 May. The unit consists of four Mi-171 multirole helicopters and 140 troops and is being deployed in batches. Once in Sudan the unit will conduct aerial patrols and transport cargo and personnel as well as conduct medical evacuation missions with the UNAMID mission.
China deployed some 700 peacekeepers to South Sudan in December last year, and announced it would be sending 925 peacekeepers to Darfur and South Sudan, including 225 for Darfur.
In May, China sent 190 officers and soldiers to Mali to join the UN mission there. The team is part of China’s 395-strong fifth peacekeeping force to Mali, which consists of security personnel, military engineers, and medical staff.
Around 3 100 Chinese peacekeepers are serving in 10 regions around the world, including 2 400 in Africa in engineering, transport, police and medical roles.
In September 2015 China said it would create a peacekeeping standby force of 8 000 troops, set up a permanent peacekeeping police squad, and provide military aid of $100 million to the African Union.