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China’s first helicopter unit departed for Sudan on Saturday to join the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Darfur.
Twelve troops took off from Tianjin Binhai International Airport, along with two Mi-171 helicopters and other equipment.
The soldiers are part of a 140-strong force from the 81st Group Army of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) who will be sent to Sudan in batches to carry out tasks such as air patrol, transport of peacekeeping forces, evacuation of rescued personnel and air supplies.
In total, four Mi-171 helicopters will be deployed.
Chai Hua, Deputy Commander of the troops in the helicopter unit, said the soldiers underwent intensive training exercises ahead of their departure in preparation for their tasks in Sudan.
China has been actively involved in the UN peacekeeping operations for over 25 years.
There are now 2,622 Chinese peacekeepers putting their lives at risk in restive regions around the world, according to a UN report published in July 2016.
In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping committed 8,000 troops to the UN peacekeeping standby force, a fifth of the 40,000 total troops committed by 50 nations.