GAO, MALI, Dec 11 (ChinaMil) – The 5th Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachment to Mali carried out a joint defense drill with the Nigerien peacekeeping infantry battalion in Ménaka on Sunday morning, in a bid to jointly enhance the capabilities to deal with emergencies under harsh security situation in Mali.
Ménaka, a town and urban commune in eastern Mali, has been on an "Orange Alert", a high-risk level, since late August, 2017. There have been 36 terror attacks in Mali since this August, killing more than 130 people and injuring over 130 personnel. Sixty percent of these attacks happened in Ménaka. The city is recognized as the "most dangerous zone" by Sector East of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
The goal of the joint drill was to counter any potential attack on sentry post by armed terrorists. During the drill, after receiving a warning signal from a UN sentry post, the Chinese quick-response peacekeepers immediately grabbed weapons to provide support and the Chinese medical peacekeepers rushed to the scene to conduct first aid to the injured. In the meantime, the Nigerien peacekeeping infantry dispatched armored vehicles to the outlying areas of the UN camp for providing support.
"The peacekeeping forces of China and Niger intensified their coordination consciousness through the joint drill," said Wei Wei, commander of the Chinese peacekeeping detachment.
"The Chinese peacekeeping detachment has initiated an information sharing mechanism with the commanding units of the MINUSMA and the friendly UN peacekeeping forces, so as to jointly tackle risks," he added.
The Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachment is now stationed in Menaká, a city 300 kilometers from Gao, since late July, for an 8-month mission of building defense facilities.