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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

China Sends Peacekeeping Team to Conflict-Torn South Sudan

A Chinese team of 100 military and medical personnel has left for South Sudan on a peacekeeping mission, while another two teams are set to leave late November, Xinhua news agency reports.

MOSCOW, November 19- China has sent a team of 100 military and medical personnel on a peacekeeping mission to conflict-torn South Sudan, Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday

The team left for South Sudan on Tuesday night, while another two teams are set to leave late November, the news agency reported citing a Wednesday statement from the military.

A total of three teams consisting of 331 personnel will be sent to Wau in northwestern South Sudan on an eight-month mission aimed at “building and maintaining roads, bridges, airports, water and power facilities as well as destroying weapons and ammunition,” Xinhua reported, citing the statement.

China, which has friendly relations with both the Sudan and South Sudan, has actively participated in peacekeeping missions in the region with a development-oriented policy, the Shanghai Institute for International Studies said in a report.

Following decades of civil wars in Sudan, the South became the world’s newest country on July 9, 2011, but power struggles and ethnic clashes have continued to tear the country apart.

In 2013, South Sudan President Salva Kiir accused former Vice-President Riek Machar, whom he dismissed from office, of planning to overthrow him. Following internal tensions, rebel groups seized control of several towns in the country.

Later in 2014 a ceasefire agreement was reached in Ethiopia but has continually been broken since then.

The crisis has uprooted some 1.5 million people and more than 7 million have been affected by hunger and disease, according to the United Nations.

In 2015, about 700 Chinese peacekeepers are expected to join the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, according to the organization. The mission includes 12,500 peacekeepers and Formed Police Units of 1,323 personnel.

Besides China, over 60 other countries have contributed military and police personnel to the mission, among them are Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, the United States and Australia.

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