A team of Chinese engineers arrived in west Sudan's Darfur region Thursday, completing the deployment of a Chinese engineering unit in the war-torn area.
The 172-member team, including 27 officers and 145 soldiers, arrived in Nyala, capital of Sudan's South Darfur state. Their deployment brings the strength of the Chinese contingent in the region to 315.
The Chinese contingent, which will join the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), will be engaged in building infrastructural facilities in the region.
At a welcoming ceremony for the team, UNAMID Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada said deployment was the priority for the mission.
"We are accelerating our deployment. We are building the strength of the mission so we can protect more personnel and more Darfurians and continue to implement our mandate," he said.
The UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping troops are short of engineers, Adada said, adding that the completion of the Chinese engineering unit's deployment in the region leads the way to a bright future for UNAMID.
Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, commander of the UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force, said: "For me, it's a very special day because what we need most is the engineering capacity to build and expand our camps to allow us to increase the numbers of our deployed forces."
Agwai has previously emphasized the lack of engineering capacity as one of the principal constraints delaying deployment of more peacekeepers to the currently under-manned mission.
Meanwhile, the Chinese engineers pledged to make their utmost contribution to the Darfur peace process.
Last April, China agreed to send a 315-man multifunctional engineering unit to Darfur at the request of the United Nations.
An advance team of 143 troops arrived in Nyala last November, the first batch of UN-AU peacekeepers in place in Darfur.
(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2008)