Feature: China's "blue helmets" on frontlines of restoring peace in South Sudan

Source:Xinhua 2021-10-27

  In some parts of South Sudan, surface temperatures can reach 50 degree Celsius on a regular day. It is too hot for natives and foreigners alike.

  The harsh climatic conditions are the backdrop of the stories of 700 soldiers and military officers of China's seventh batch of peacekeeping infantry battalion, who come from afar to promote peace and stability in the world's youngest republic.

  "Reporting. A camouflage truck was found on Ye'i Road, some 300 meters away from my observation area. All the five people in the vehicle were in military uniform and carrying a heavy machine gun," blared a loudspeaker from the intercom.

  The report in the middle of the night came from sentinel No. 2 behind the Ye'i Road. The road is the only one leading to the city of Juba from the outside, where more than 60 local armed vehicles and 80 weapons pass by every day.

  Not far from that post is shelter No. 1, where the Chinese peacekeeping infantry battalion guarded the safety of over 5,000 civilians and all personnel in the UN camp round the clock.

  Since the deployment of the first batch in 2015, enhanced security has averted several attacks targeting the vulnerable including children. Every weekend, battalion Commander Yang Zhongju visited the surrounding villages and shelters to check the security situation and became acquainted with the kids.

  In February, when the peacekeeping infantry battalion carried out its first long-distance patrol, Yang was notified that two armed forces were exchanging fire 25 km away from the base.

  After an emergency meeting with the base over the phone, the battalion decided to carry forward the task as planned. At night, the detachment of more than 90 officers and soldiers were standing by in the field tent with first-level combat alarm. They conducted free consultations and offered condolences to the local civilians the following day before returning to the camp.

  "I thought you would leave, but I didn't expect you to help us under such pressure. I thank you on behalf of all the villagers," a local elder told Zhao Yanjun, the team leader.

  When the mission was over and the convoy left, many children ran after it on bare feet, waving goodbye and shouting "China."

  Since the seventh batch of China's peacekeeping infantry battalion to South Sudan (Juba) was deployed in December 2020, 49 officers and soldiers of the entire battalion were awarded the "Personal Commendation" by the commander of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and 110 officers and soldiers were awarded "Personal Commendation" by the commander of Juba war zone, and the Infantry Battalion was awarded "Collective Commendation" respectively by UNMISS and the Juba war zone.

  As China celebrates the 50th anniversary of the restoration of its lawful seat in the United Nations, Chinese peacekeeping troops will continue their core mission, with bravery and valor to bring peace and hope in South Sudan. Enditem


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