28 July 2014

Algeria: Chinese Peacekeepers in Mali Provide Assistance After Plane Crash

Bamako — The first batch of Chinese peacekeepers stationed in Mali has started on Friday its humanitarian assistance after a fatal plane crash in the West African nation.

Late Friday, Algeria's official APS news agency said no passengers aboard the Air Algerie flight AH5017 that crashed over Mali on Thursday could survive.

Of the people killed, 51 people were from France, 23 from Burkina Faso, and some from Algeria, Lebanon and Canada.

The aircraft, operated by Spanish charter firm Swiftair, disappeared from radar screen 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, en route to Algiers on Thursday.

The plane fell to the ground in the Gossi area, some 60 km away from where the Chinese mission is stationed, Li Kaihua, head of the first contingent of the Chinese peacekeepers, told a Chinese news outlet.

The crash site, in the desert area, is scarcely populated, Li said, adding that poor roads and other infrastructure are the huge troubles impeding assistance.

Together with the French army soldiers stationed in Mali, the Chinese peacekeepers are responsible for transferring and refrigerating the bodies, Li said.

The Chinese mission will in all send 30 people, five pieces of engineering machinery and 15 carrier vehicles in the assistance work.

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