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China sends more peacekeepers to Liberia
October 22, 2013, 9:35 am


It is the first time the Asian nation has deployed a riot police unit to Africa [Xinhua]

A second batch of riot police left Beijing on Monday night to join an eight-month United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia, said the Chinese Ministry of Public Security.

The 140-member UN trained squad were selected from field police officers in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, according to the ministry.

The first batch of riot police from China was sent in September.

It is the first time the Asian nation has deployed a riot police unit to Africa.

In Liberia, 150,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in a civil war that ended a decade ago.

The UN Security Council had earlier last month extended the mandate of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for another year.

At the height of its operations, which began in 2003, UNMIL totalled more than 15,000 troops and well over 1,000 police personnel, and oversaw two series of elections.

According to UN figures, 850,000 Liberians have become refugees in neighbouring countries during the long drawn out civil war.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor lost his appeal against a war-crimes conviction in September this year at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.

Judges confirmed a 50-year jail term against Taylor for encouraging rebels in Sierra Leone to mutilate, rape and murder victims in its civil war.

Since 2000, China has sent 1,946 police officers on UN peacekeeping missions.

China has repeatedly insisted that peacekeeping personnel should not be directly involved in military conflicts in host countries.

“The Chinese security force is actually a guard team that will mainly be responsible for the security of the MINUSMA headquarters and the living areas of peacekeeping forces,” Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesman Yang Yujun said in June after announcing China’s peacekeeping mission to Mali.

China is now the biggest contributor to peacekeeping missions among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Source: Agencies