Courtesy of the U.N.
China has deployed a helicopter unit to the Republic of Sudan to join a United Nations peacekeeping force there, according to China's Xinhua news service.
A dozen Chinese troops landed June 11 in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum with two Russian Helicopters Mi-171s, the first element of a planned hundred and 40-person force to join the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur, the news report says. Darfur is a Western region of Sudan that has been beset by civil war for more than 13 years.
In addition to the 130-plus troops, the unit from the 81st Group Army of the People's Liberation Army is to be joined by two more Mi-171s, according to Xinhua. It added that the unit is to perform air patrols, transport peacekeeping forces and supplies and evacuate rescued personnel.
"Soon these helicopters will be deployed in the Darfur region to take part in the peacekeeping operations there," Xinhua reported, quoting the military attaché at the Chinese Embassy in Khartoum.
The new service said China has more than 2,622 peacekeeping personnel deployed throughout the world and plans to increase that to 8,000. Hundreds of the Chinese peacekeepers are deployed in the Republic of Sudan, Republican South Sudan (which gained independence in 2011 and has faced civil war since) and in Mali. Two of its peacekeepers were reported to have been killed last July in South Sudan and five others injured when a rocket-propelled grenade struck their vehicle.