By Jia Chunming
GAO, MALI, Feb. 18 (ChinaMil) -- Following a sudden air defense warning given at the Super Camp of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Sector East in Gao, the 6th Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachment to Mali together with the other seven nations’ peacekeeping detachments urgently entered ‘a state of war’ at 14:30 on February 15, local time. A “multi-case, large scale, and full coverage” sector exercise was launched.
The MINUSMA has been on a high-risk level of “Orange Alert” for two months and the security situation in Gao has been worsening. According to statistics, 58 terrorist attacks have occurred since New Year’s Day and resulted in more than 100 casualties and numerous destroyed buildings.
After receiving the briefing from the Sector East Headquarters of the MINUSMA on the afternoon of February 15, the Chinese peacekeeping detachment reached the first-level combat readiness in only 2 minutes.
Held once a year, the safety defense drill is aimed at actual combat training towards various security threats in the peacekeeping camps, with an intention to test the quick reaction and emergency command capabilities of each peacekeeping force.
Under the unified command of the Sector East Headquarters, the drill was participated by a total number of about 1300 persons, including peacekeepers from 14 peacekeeping detachments, personnel of the sector HQ and local employees.
The Chinese peacekeeping detachment dispatched 230 persons, five command vehicles, three armored infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and two ambulances to participate in six training subjects such as curved firearms attacks, car bomb attacks, and the infiltration of “suspicious personnel” in the camp, as well as medical transfer and treatment.
Acting chief of staff at the Sector East of the MINUSMA highly praised the performance of the Chinese peacekeeping detachment. He said, “The Chinese detachment commanded effectively and acted quickly during the drill, showing an extremely high level of combat capability! We are relieved to have Chinese peacekeepers on guard!”
Zhang Haifeng, deputy head of the Chinese peacekeeping guard detachment, said that in order to maximize the safety of all peacekeepers in the camp in the event of an emergency, the Chinese detachment has been actively communicating and coordinating with other defense forces at the Super Camp while strengthening their own defense construction.