The total number of UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) forces is now 8,000, according to a statement issued here Thursday.
UNAMID is expected to have 26,000 military, police and civilian personnel on full deployment, making it the largest UN peace mission around the world.
On Thursday, “UNAMID welcomed the arrival of 172 Chinese military engineers in Nyala, South Darfur, bringing the total number of Chinese engineers in Darfur to 315 and the total number of UNAMID force to 8,000,” it said.
The statement at the UN, stated that the Chinese contingent would work primarily on the completion of the “Supercamp” in Nyala and the expansion of other UNAMID camps in Darfur.
It said that that the Chinese also provide the infrastructure and facilities that would allow more peacekeepers to be deployed.
UNAMID’s Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada and Force Commander, General Martin Agwai of Nigeria received the engineers.
Adada, who spoke at the occasion, said: “Deployment is our priority. We are not withdrawing, on the contrary we are accelerating our deployment”.
He also said “we are building the strength of the mission so we can protect more personnel and more Darfurians and continue to implement our mandate”.
On his part, Agwai identified the lack of engineering capacity as one of the principal constraints delaying deployment of more peacekeepers “to this under-manned mission”.
“Every commander wants the resources to fulfil his assignment. For me, it is a very special day because what we need most is the engineering capacity to build and expand our camps to allow us to increase the numbers of our deployed forces” he said.
Chinese company of engineers includes bridge and road-building detachments, construction and installation units, maintenance and support teams and well-drilling specialists.
Also, apart from their work on the Supercamp in Nyala and other UNAMID bases, the engineers would also assist local communities in Darfur with Quick Impact Projects, such as well-drilling for drinking water.