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China's peacekeepers working in Mali
The first batch of 135 peacekeepers in Mali have conducted the mission's first defense drilling operation to improve emergency handling capabilities, according to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense on Friday.
China sent the peacekeepers to Mali on Dec. 4, marking the first time the country has dispatched security forces for such a mission.
The team consists of engineers, medical staff and security guards from the Shenyang Military Area Command and the 211 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army. They are the advance troops of a 395-strong force that China will send to Mali at the request of the United Nations.
After they arrived, they prepared tents and constructed military bunkers, according to a statement from the ministry's peacekeeping office.
More than 1,700 tonnes of equipment and materials have been transported by sea to the area.
The team will be tasked with repairing roads and bridges, airport runways and facilities at camps, safeguarding the security of mission headquarters, as well as providing medical treatment and epidemic prevention.
The force's remaining servicemen are ready for departure according to the UN arrangement.
[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 13Dec13]
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