SUDAN WATCH: Chinese peacekeepers in Wau, South Sudan - near Darfur

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Chinese peacekeepers in Wau, South Sudan - near Darfur

Somehwere in the archives of Sudan Watch are several news reports that quote the late John Garang as saying he would never allow Chinese peacekeepers into Southern Sudan as they were onside with Khartoum.

On May 22, 2006 a news report at CCTV International tells us the first Chinese peacekeeping force to Sudan has settled in the southern city of Wau, less than 100 miles from the conflict zone of Darfur. Excerpt:
The 135 engineers and medics will carry out infrastructure construction and maintenance tasks during their eight month mission in Africa.

Three scorpions threw the camp into confusion, but it didn't ruin the ladies' appetites. It's the first time the nurses had noodles after landing in the red desert of Wau. And that's enough for them to forget, at least for a while, about the lack of water.

Song Shaoyan, Chinese Peacekeeper said: "I haven't taken a bath for three days and I stink. So stay away from me."

A big surprise came after breakfast, when each was permitted to talk to her family for one minute via the international maritime satellite phone.

Song said: "We're talking for another minute. Other members were given just one minute, but I'm using a second minute."
Four of the seven nurses have children, their greatest concern.

The daytime temperature is above 50 degrees Celsius in the red desert of Wau. But the women peacekeepers have to join their male colleagues in infrastructure construction tasks when there are no emergency patients.

Yin Qingjiang, Director of Engineers Team said: "The UN assigned us lots of camp-building work. And at the same time, we need to set up camps to accommodate ourselves. There is a conflict of timing."

The peacekeepers have been working for ten hours a day since their arrival. Shortage of materials has hindered the job further. Because the Wau airfield is made of sand, materials can only trickle in here via small planes.

Living conditions are hard. No fresh vegetables are available, and regular disinfection is necessary to keep cholera and malaria at bay.

Shan Jianhua, Chinese Peacekeepers in Sudan said: "Though new problems will crop up, the soldiers are ready to fight a hard war. We're determined to present people a satisfactory scoresheet."

The soldiers are also undergoing targeted mine clearance training and have increased their self-protection awareness. They will be joined by 270 fellow soliders from China next week, the last group of UN peacekeeping forces in Sudan. Editor:Ge Ting
Apr 3 2006 Chinese peacekeepers leave for South Sudan mission

Apr 5 2006 Advance team of Chinese peacekeepers arrive in Sudan on UN mission

Apr 20 2006 Russian peacekeepers join UN mission in south Sudan

May 2 2006 Russian peacekeepers to fly out to Sudan May 3

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