Honor guards carry the coffins of two Chinese UN peacekeepers during a ceremony at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province, July 20, 2016. (Xinhua/Zhang Yongjin)
The Chinese government Tuesday airlifted the remains of its two UN peacekeepers killed in the recent fighting in the conflict-hit South Sudan back home for burial.
The bodies of deceased Corporal Li Lei, 22 and Master Sergeant Yang Shupeng, 33 who were killed in the fighting between government troops of President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar in the capital Juba were flown back home in a special chartered plane sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping last week.
Maj. Gen. Su Guanghui, acting director of the Peacekeeping Affairs Office at the Chinese Defense Ministry who led the delegation for the evacuation of bodies of fallen officers and other military officers mounted a parade and saluted as the bodies were being lifted to be loaded onto the waiting plane for Beijing.
The 737 Boeing plane carrying the caskets of the departed peacekeepers wrapped in the Chinese National flag was seen off at Entebbe International Airport, about 40 kilometers south of the capital, Kampala by the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhao Yali and some Chinese nationals living in Uganda in a somber mood.
"The special chartered plane is going to take off with the remains of our two soldiers. They sacrificed their lives in the peacekeeping mission in Juba. We feel very very sorry for that," said Yali.
"I should say that, all together with all peace loving nations of the world, we should try together, work together to safeguard the peace and stability in the world. We will remember them forever," he said.
The two Chinese peacekeepers were killed and four others injured after a mortal shell hit the armored vehicle the group were moving around the UN compound as the fighting between government and anti-government forces continued in Juba.
The bodies of the fallen soldiers were last Friday airlifted to Uganda and persevered at Mulago National Referral Hospital Mortuary, Kampala, awaiting their final journey back home.
The two injured peacekeepers Wu Le and Yao Daoxiang who have been recovering at Nakasero Hospital, a UN Level Three Hospital in Kampala, accompanied and escorted their departed comrades back home.
Chen Ying and Huo Yahui who were seriously injured in the attack were last Saturday afternoon airlifted to Beijing aboard a specialist medical rescue plane sent by the Chinese military for urgent treatment and operations.
The UN has said that at least 300 people were killed and over 10,000 fled their homes after the violence broke out in Juba.
Although a fragile ceasefire has held since last Monday, the UN has warned of the possibility of fresh fighting in Juba.