At the request of the United Nations, the People’s Liberation Army sent the troops, made up of 35 engineers, 65 medical workers and 35 soldiers, to join the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali for eight months.
A 135-strong peacekeeping troop left for Mali on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, evening, in the first time China’s army has sent security forces as part of a peacekeeping mission.
The Chinese peacekeepers, all from a Harbin-based contingent, will be tasked with repairing roads and bridges, safeguarding peace and stability, and providing medical assistance. This is China’s 30th UN peacekeeping mission since 1990, but this is the first time China has sent security forces on such a mission. The troops are also equipped with a lot of Chinese-designed and manufactured military equipment, in another major difference from previous missions.
Murielle Delaporte, a respected French military analyst, was embedded with French forces in Mali for 10 days in late April and offers this early look at lessons learned by France, and by her allies.
French forces appear to have succeeded in Mali. They blunted the mad progress of Islamist extremist forces during Operation Serval and drove them back to the northern mountains – where some of whom blew themselves up rather than surrender when faced with defeat.
The first phase of Operation Serval, as the French incursion into Mali was known, was a genuine military success. Maybe, as one former French Foreign Legion officer observed, Serval stands as one of the few French military victories since the Cold War.
During three months of fighting France lost six soldiers and suffered 200 wounded, while forces from neighboring Chad — who reportedly fought with verve and effectiveness — lost more.
This photo taken March 8, 2013 by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows French soldiers patrolling in the Mettatai region in northern Mali.
France’s Presidential office on Saturday March 23 2013 said that DNA testing has shown that Al-Qaida-linked North African warlord Abou Zeid was killed in combat with French troops in Mali in February. Chad’s President had claimed earlier that his troops had killed Zeid.
(AP Photo/Arnaud Roine/ECPAD)