Peacekeeping in Mali

  On August 17, 2019, China's seventh batch of security teams went to Maliwei to go to the Oasis Range to organize a post to coordinate live fire shooting exercises.

  Dust storms that were hundreds of meters high were overwhelming. The wind was pouring down on the red muddy raindrops. The entire Gaoao Super Camp was engulfed by dust storms. The surveillance video soon showed no picture.

  On May 28th, the seventh batch of Chinese troops deployed in the Gaoao Super Camp to Maliwei and the security detachment finally bid farewell to the long dry season in Mali and ushered in the first rain of the year.

  In addition to wind and rain, there is also the baptism of war. Since deploying to the mission area in May last year, the officers and men of the peacekeeping security unit have been tested by a full year of war.

  The seventh batch of China’s seventh batch of security guards to Maliwei has a total of 210 officers and soldiers, and undertakes the tasks of guarding, peripheral patrol, and armed escort of the Gaoao Super Battalion in the eastern theater of the United States. They were formed with a combined brigade of the 78th Army of the Army as the main body. Officers and soldiers participated in the Russian "Eastern-2018" strategic exercises and the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. Overseas peacekeeping is a brand new one in the history of this heroic army brigade.

  Mali, located in northwestern Africa, is the mission area with the largest number of casualties among 13 peacekeeping operations carried out by the United Nations worldwide. Peacekeeper officers and soldiers often receive such a text message on their mobile phones: "The Chinese Embassy in Mali reminds you to proceed to the northeastern region of Mali!" Due to the frequent fighting, Gao International Airport in northeastern Mali has not been opened to civil aviation aircraft.

  The Gaomao battalion in the eastern theater of the United Military Mission is adjacent to the Gaoao International Airport. The aerial view of the camp area is approximately trapezoidal. The super battalion has two vehicle entrances at the north and west gates. The theater headquarters is staggered and stationed within the 0.6 square kilometer super battalion, and the adjacent units are only separated by a 6-meter-wide sand road.

  For the peacekeeping officers and soldiers of the security detachment, the first thing that has come to Mali is not the jet lag, but the immediate entry into the wartime state and the start of the peacekeeping mode.

"Your performance is excellent"

  After three days and two nights of air turbulence, on May 23, 2019, the officers and men of the security team stepped off the Air Force Il-76 large transport aircraft and all arrived at the Super Camp of Marigao. As soon as it was settled, the detachment received the notice of the integrated defense exercise conducted by the United Military Regiment East Theater.

  At 15 o'clock on May 24th, the super battalion sounded an alarm, and the pilot command of the eastern theater came from the camp radio: "Quarter firearm strike!"

  "All personnel immediately entered the bunker!" Liu Yong, the captain of the security team, went to overseas for the third time to carry out peacekeeping missions, and he quickly issued orders. The officers and soldiers of the detachment immediately put on equipment and carried weapons into the underground bunker. The members of the three armored vehicles belonging to the fast reactionary forces completed the preparation for boarding and departure.

  "Occupy the first-line shooting position and the second-line defensive position!" At 15:10, according to the Eastern Theater Command, each squadron of the security team was divided according to the task of the defense zone, and in turn occupied the first-line shooting position and the second line of the outer periphery of the security unit camp in turn Defensive positions form a basic defensive posture.

  "351, order your ministry to quickly support the North Gate and occupy favorable positions according to the local conditions!"

  "351 understand!"

  "351" is the codename of the fast anti-squadron leader Hao Jianxiong. After receiving the task, he immediately directed the armored vehicle to the North Gate's scheduled position to provide strong support for any unexpected situation at any time.

  One of the camps deployed in the northern war zone of UNITA had been hit twice by car bombs after being hit by a curved firearm, and then terrorists infiltrated the camp to carry out attacks, causing heavy casualties. Therefore, responding to the "complex attack" training is the top priority of the exercise contents of the various peacekeeping forces of UNMUST.

  The Chinese security detachment is responsible for guarding multiple posts at Chaoying. The north gate has three posts at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, and guards the east and west sides of the North Gate Passage. It is the first checkpoint for a car bomb attack.

  After receiving the pilot order, Zheng Zhijia, the main post on duty at No. 3 sentinel, closed the north gate passage, opened the vehicle blocking pile and the tire breaker, and assisted Wang Hao to use the high-power telescope to carefully observe the peripheral vehicle personnel. Any suspicious situation.

  The exercise lasted until 17:00. After the inspection of the North Gate and West Gate outposts, the headquarters defense officer and Bangladeshi officer Homayun Kabel who participated in the mediation said: "Although you have just completed the rotation handover, the disposal process That's right, your performance is excellent."

  The first exercise tested the unit's comprehensive defense capabilities. Most officers and men rated their "first show" as "good", but the unit liaison Wang Haochen felt that he was barely qualified.

  Before coming to Mali, Wang Haochen, who had obtained the Certificate of English Special Eight, rehearsed many scenes of contact with foreign troops in his mind, but during the first exercise, "it was nervous if you didn't understand a little, and you couldn't understand as you got nervous." Facing Egypt, Wang Haochen's English of "World of Nations" for peacekeepers in Bangladesh, Jordan, Senegal and other countries seems to be a bit overwhelmed.

  "The best way to solve this embarrassment is to listen more and communicate more." Peacekeepers from all countries will participate in the early shift meeting organized by the Eastern Theater at 8:30 every day. Wang Haochen took the initiative to sign up for the daily shift meeting and brought a recording pen throughout the process After recording, he listened to the handover courseware issued by the headquarters repeatedly.

  In various documents issued by the United Nations, English abbreviations are beyond imagination. Wang Haochen's book is densely recorded with nearly a thousand English abbreviations, including abbreviations of various levels and departments of the United Nations, as well as abbreviations of various branches of peacekeeping force headquarters. Wang Haochen said: "At a critical moment, this book is better than an English-Chinese dictionary."

  After many foreign affairs activities, Wang Haochen is now the "Gold Medal Translator" of the Security Unit. On May 31st, the commander of the United Nations Mission’s Eastern Theater and Brigadier General Senegal Diene visited the Chinese peacekeeping guard unit. Wang Haochen, who was in charge of the translation task throughout the entire process, successfully completed the translation support task.

  After the inspection, Commander Diener wrote an inscription for the security detachment: "Chinese soldiers are very professional, and the super-battles have the defense of Chinese soldiers. We feel very safe."

Experience a real terrorist attack

  In the peacekeeping guard unit, the third squadron deputy squadron leader Jiang Zhenyu is a professional in reconnaissance. He will carefully study the superior bulletins and browse the news every week, sort out the recent attacks in various regions of Mali from the complicated information, and then select the time and place , Attack methods and other aspects were analyzed, and finally a week of intelligence results were formed, and all personnel of the detachment were dispatched to learn.

  Curved firearm strikes, car bomb attacks, armed conflicts, ethnic conflicts... Different types of attacks, Jiang Zhenyu marked with different colors of the logo, and then marked on the electronic map.

  "Previously, terrorists were dominated by small-scale "lone wolf-style" attacks, and now there are gradually increasing mass attacks." Jiang Zhenyu opened an electronic map and pointed at a region filled with signs. "Through probability distribution, which places are at high risk?" In the region, it is clear which road section is a high-risk section and which time period is a high-risk period."

  On July 22 last year, Xie Wanglin, the captain of the fourth squadron of the guard, was on duty at the 4th outpost of the northwest corner of the camp. At 15:47, a deafening loud noise suddenly came. A huge mushroom cloud vacated from the French Bakhan camp not far away Rise up. Xie Wanglin immediately pressed the yellow button representing the car bomb attack on the siren.

  The distance between the French camp and the super camp was less than 1 km. The officers and soldiers in the camp clearly felt that the board room was violently shaking. Corporal Gao Yu, a squadron of the No. 1 Squadron, was walking on the way to the North Gate. He even felt his body was pushed by the shock wave. A few meters.

  The officers and soldiers of the detachment responded quickly, wearing combat gear and carrying weapons and equipment into the underground bunker to stand by. Under the command of the captain Liu Yong, the personnel on duty at the post were loaded with bullets, and the entrance and exit passages of the North Gate and West Gate were closed to prepare for possible compound attacks.

  Outside the super battalion, the French and Mali government ground forces blocked all the roads around the airport and the outskirts of the Gaoao super battalion. More than 10 "tiger" helicopters and phantom fighters circled and reconnaissance from the northeast of the super battalion to the Gao airport. Inside Chaoying, all the staff members and civil servants in the construction are entering the bunker nearby. The situation is very urgent.

  "Each outpost focused on observing the ground conditions in the direction of the fighter's flight, and immediately reported anomalies!" The team leader Liu Yong commanded on the spot at the North Gate No. 3 post.

  "Are there any cars to load bombs afterwards?" As the doorway was closed, the airport highway was full of vehicles, and the sentry watched the wind and grass in front of him.

  At 16:10, according to the orders of the Eastern Theater of the United Nations Mission, the security team sent personnel to occupy the emergency post and the second-line position, and the fast reactionary forces arrived at the second gate position of the North Gate to prepare for support.

  In order to prevent possible subsequent compound attacks, the security team comprehensively improved the security alert level that night, the brigade leaders patrolled continuously, and the cadres of the organs were on duty at all times. All cadres were headed by the cadres, and strengthened their duty to ensure that United Military Mission Eastern Theater Command and Super Camp Security.

  The tense atmosphere on the string continued until dawn the next day. A situation report issued by UNMIL indicated that the terrorist attack was a suicide car bomb attack. The attack was carried out by three terrorists wearing uniforms of the Malian government army in a white bulletproof off-road vehicle. One person was killed and 1 was killed. One person was killed and one fled.

  How to play bulletproof cars and how to prevent them? Shortly after the "July 22" terrorist attack, the security detachment, in conjunction with the United Military Mission’s eastern theater training plan, came to the oasis shooting range near the Gaoao Super Camp and organized tactical backgrounds such as car bombs rushing to the camp gate and terrorists attacking the Super Camp. Live fire drill.

  "Vehicles collided with the camp gate and disposed of!" In the coordinated shooting exercise of the outpost, with the commander's password issued, snipers, rifles and antiaircraft machine gunners quickly occupied their respective shooting positions and fired against the "terrorists". The armored vehicle also throws smoke bombs, and the sentry hand on duty throws smoke bombs to simulate real combat scenarios.

  When the target returned, the security detachment installed the anti-aircraft machine guns on the armored vehicles to the two most important outposts at the North Gate and West Gate according to the shooting damage. In this way, the two channels that control the entry and exit of super-operated vehicles have the ability to strike bullet-proof cars.

"Be ready to shoot at any time"

  The fast anti-squadron is the main force of the guard unit for patrol tasks. Each time the patrol performs its mission, it takes more than 1 hour. Although it was a short-distance patrol, no one dared to take it lightly because of the severe and complex local security situation.

  "Terrorists may bury roadside bombs. No matter whether you patrol by car or on foot, you must follow the rut mark!" Patrol leader Hao Jianxiong has to repeatedly emphasize to you every time.

  Du Botao, the leader of the convoy and the second-level sergeant, is the longest soldier of the guard unit. In September 2018, he went to Russia to participate in the "Oriental-2018" strategic exercise. Gore shooting range. Although he drove an armored vehicle for more than 20 years, he did not dare to relax in Mali Du Botao. At dawn, he climbed up to inflate the air brake of the armored vehicle, inspect the tire chassis, and adjust the rearview mirror.

  "Open the vehicle's shooting hole and be ready to shoot at any time." On the patrol road, Hao Jianxiong reminded everyone to take various precautions. At this time, even the crown of the anti-aircraft machine gun operator, who usually talks about jokes, has become serious. He monitors the situation outside the roof all the time and must flexibly operate the weapon according to the specific situation.

  In addition to the routine patrol missions outside the super battalion, the security unit will also receive various types of armed escort missions.

  On March 22, the Togo police unit in Menaka was hit by a bomb while patrolling, injuring five people, one of them seriously. At 11 o'clock that night, the security detachment received the task: emergency escort for the transfer of Togolese wounded in China's second-level hospital.

  The officers and men of the fast anti-units who had rested immediately put on combat gear and completed preparations for boarding. At this time, the Romanian helicopter transporting the wounded has taken off to Gao Airport. The armored vehicles of the security detachment completed the formation between the entrance of the Chinese second-level hospital and the medical armored ambulance, and then rushed to the Gao airport.

  After escorting the medical vehicle into the apron, the fast reaction force will rely on a favorable position at the entrance of the airport to implement vigilance. Late night is a sensitive time period, everyone turns on the helmet night vision device and observes closely the security situation in each direction according to the division of tasks.

  The entrance to the airport was next to the French Bakhan camp. The remnants of the "7·22" explosion were still very obvious. Corporal Li Haojie found an explosion-proof sandbox and implemented vigilance on the back side. The deputy squadron leader Jiang Qifeng station was armed At the top, the vehicles on the airport highway are monitored. The driver Gu Mingchen keeps the vehicle started and is always ready for maneuver support.

  The strong guards of the security detachment provided a strong security guarantee for the transport of wounded people in China's second-level hospitals. The medical staff devoted themselves to the treatment of the wounded in the airport, and completed the handover task with the Romanian detachment who came to transfer the wounded in time.

  The staff at Gao'ao Airport repeatedly praised Chinese peacekeeping officers and men. They did not expect that the armored vehicles of the Chinese peacekeeping force arrived at the airport as soon as they received the aircraft landing notice.

  On January 28 this year, Mr. Lacroix, the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations in charge of peacekeeping operations, and Lieutenant General Reut, the military adviser to the UN secretary-general, came to the guard unit camp for an inspection visit. In the meantime, Lieutenant General Reut commented on the Chinese peacekeeping guard team and said: "You can overcome the short-term unsolvable difficulties to carry out the patrol mission. I am very happy. I pay high tribute to your outstanding work performance in Gao."

  Sun Bo Language and Photograph Source: China Youth Daily