By Li Zhiqiang
On February 25, Chinese peacekeeping engineers inspect the disposed ammunitions. (Photo by Li Zhiqiang)
CONGO, March 7 (ChinaMil) -- On February 26, local time, the 22nd Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) successfully completed its mission of ammunition disposal.
After receiving the task, An Xiaoping, deputy commander of the detachment, led his team toward a village in the DRC’s district 130 kilometers away from the Chinese Barracks located in a small peninsula of the DRC, to conduct ammunition disposal for the Pakistan Quick-Reaction Battalion.
According to An Xiaoping who was in charge of this mission, the focus of the task was to dispose the expired white phosphorus incendiary bombs for mortars and anti-tank rockets. That has been the largest and hardest task for the Chinese detachment, ever since their deployment to the DRC mission area from 16 years ago.
It is understood that the white phosphorus has been used as an incendiary agent for the munitions igniter. Once it is exposed to oxygen, it ignites spontaneously and burns fiercely, with the combustion temperature reaching over 1000℃, being able to destroy all organisms within the effective range. Furthermore, it is difficult to be removed from skin. Once in contact, it can burn up a person’s soft tissue right down to the bone. Meanwhile, inhalation of white phosphorus smoke will result in irritation to the eyes and noses.
In order to carry out the intended mission, seven soldiers and officers from the 22nd Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachment to DRC had to overcome the high temperature and great security risks in riot areas where anti-government armed forces gathered. They wore explosion-proof suits and body armors at the high temperature of 40℃, worked continuously for two days, and finally accomplished the task with high standards.
At the completion of the mission, an official from the ammunition department of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or MONUSCO, raised his thumb to praise: “The Chinese engineers are superb!” He highly affirmed the disposal task and greatly admired the exquisite skills of the Chinese engineers.
During this mission, the engineer detachment destroyed 134 white phosphorus incendiary bombs for mortars, 2 anti-tank rockets, 89 mortar projectiles and waste ammunitions of various kinds in two days, consuming 80 kilograms of plastic explosives.
Zeng Siyuan, commander of China’s 22nd peacekeeping engineer detachment to DRC, said:” We are here to protect peace. We are always in pursuit of high standards and high quality in accomplishing any tasks. We will better accomplish the tasks including ammunition disposal, engineering construction and humanitarian assistance, in order to make greater contribution to maintaining peace in mission areas.”