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China deploys female peacekeepers in South Sudan

China will send an infantry battalion of 700 peacekeepers in South Sudan, including a 13-soldier female squad, the army unit dispatching them said Friday.

It is the third batch of Chinese peacekeepers sent to South Sudan. From Sunday, they will take United Nations charter flights to the mission area, replacing the second batch of Chinese peacekeepers.

The female infantry squad will carry out humanitarian relief and protect the rights of women and children, said Ding Hailong, battalion commander.

(091001) -- BEIJING, Oct. 1, 2009 (Xinhua) -- Female soldiers and officers of the three services of the Chinese People's Liberation Army march at the head of the march-past of a parade in the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in central Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 1, 2009.            (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)  (msq)

The battalion is comprised of officers and soldiers from the 54th Group Army, including foot soldiers, armored units, artillery forces, signal troops and special warfare troops and others.

A total of 138 have conducted peacekeeping missions before, and 166 peacekeepers have won merits of third-class and above.

The infantry battalion will be deployed in South Sudan’s capital city of Juba, protecting civilians, UN staff and humanitarian relief programs, with patrols, escorts and other missions.

Ding Hailong said all peacekeepers have been trained for three months and passed all related tests so they are capable of carrying out peacekeeping missions.

Since April last year, China has deployed peacekeeping infantry battalions in South Sudan. In July this year, two Chinese peacekeeping soldiers were killed in fighting between South Sudan’s rival army factions in Juba.


Source: Xinhua | December 2

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