Relatives of deceased Chinese UN peacekeeper Yang Shupeng wail in mourning at a funeral ceremony in Xuchang, central China’s Henan Province, July 21, 2016.
Chinese UN peacekeepers Li Lei and Yang Shupeng were killed on the evening of July 10 after a mortar shell hit their armored vehicle during a fight between two army factions in Juba, capital of South Sudan.
The official at the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), who asked not to be identified, said the armored vehicle that a group of Chinese peacekeepers were travelling in on duty was hit by a mortar shell on Sunday, leading to the deaths and injuries.
“I can confirm that two Chinese were killed on Sunday evening and eight others injured. Four of the injured are in a critical condition,” the UN official said.
“The situation in Juba is still tense as heavy artillery and explosions could be heard.”
An infantry battalion of 700 military staff was stationed in South Sudan in 2014.
The battalion is involved in defending and safeguarding UN staff and civilians, according to previous reports.
“The Chinese army is deeply shocked and strongly condemns the attack,” the defence ministry said.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life. We offer our condolences and sincere sympathy to the families of the dead and wounded.”
Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel and military analyst, said it was increasingly important to amend UN peacekeeping rules that limit troops to defensive equipment.
“More often peacekeeping troops cannot defend themselves in regional conflicts involving national armies and heavy weapons. Their armor and equipment should be more advanced,” Yue said.
“China has the second-largest number of peacekeeping troops. So Beijing must push for a rule change.”
China first sent peacekeepers to Sudan in 2006.
After South Sudan became independent in 2011 it continued to deploy engineering and medical peacekeeping forces.