"I would like on behalf of President Salva Kiir Mayardit of the Republic of South Sudan to express gratitude to the Chinese engineers for completing the Disarmament, Demobilization and Resettlement (DDR) project within such a short time," said Riek Machar, vice president of South Sudan, during the completion ceremony of the Marple Training Institute in South Sudan on August 29 of 2012, local time. "The Marple Training Institute will become the first DDR project to be put into use in South Sudan," he added.
Riek Machar spoke highly of the outstanding performance of the 1st Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachment of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) to South Sudan, and presented award citations to 45 officers and men of the detachment.
In order to consolidate the hard-won peaceful situation in South Sudan after its independence and help the South Sudan veterans to acquire basic living and working skills, the United Nations is planning to establish three training centers within the South Sudan territory to provide the 162,000 demobilized combat soldiers with basic education and skill trainings on architecture, agriculture and animal husbandry, independent entrepreneurship and so on, in a bid to help them reintegrate into the society.
On January 20, the 1st Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachment to South Sudan received a directive from the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) requiring them to deploy personnel to Marple for engineering construction. On February 7, 32 peacekeeping officers and men were first deployed in the construction.
"The most difficult time is the rainy season when storms occurred almost every day," said Wang Zhonghua, commander of the detachment. "The construction machinery couldn't be sent to the site, what's more, the building materials were unable to arrive in a timely manner." During the most stressful time, a total of 100-plus officers and men were dispatched to Marple, where they worked through noon without breaks each day, and worked overtime into the night.
During the 205 days in harsh living environment with heavy construction tasks and under complicated security situations, the Chinese peacekeeping engineers managed to accomplish such arduous tasks in high standards as leveling the land of 180,000 square meters for foundations, constructing 10.8 kilometers of road, and building 18 training rooms.
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