Two United Nations peacekeepers from China died after an attack in South Sudan, the foreign ministry said on Monday. Five others were wounded, with two in a serious condition. One of the peacekeepers was killed at the scene and another died in hospital, state television reported. The defence ministry said an armoured vehicle was hit by a shell at about 6.39pm local time on Sunday when it was guarding a refugee camp near the UN compound in the South Sudanese capital Juba. The incident comes just over a month after a Chinese UN peacekeeper was killed and four others wounded in an attack in northern Mali claimed by al-Qaeda’s North African branch. Chinese UN peacekeeper killed in Mali attack by al-Qaeda branch Fighting broke out in South Sudan last week between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his rival Vice-President Riek Machar. The clashes escalated on Sunday with gunfire outside a UN building. According to an online PLA Daily report, militants tried to enter the UN compound and the Chinese peacekeeping troops were deployed to seal the key points in the compound and refugee camp to prevent the intruders from gaining access. The peacekeepers came under heavy gunfire and a shell hit the armoured vehicle and exploded, wounding the seven soldiers inside. One of the peacekeepers, Li Lei, died from head and chest wounds. The six others – Yao Daoxiang, Wu Le, Song Xiaohui, Huo Yahui, Chen Ying and Yang Shupeng – were also wounded, with Yang dying later of his injuries. The soldiers fought back and dispersed the militants, the report said. Chinese peacekeeping troops made full efforts to treat the wounded and had stepped up precautions to ensure security, the defence ministry said. The Chinese army is deeply shocked and strongly condemns the attack Defence ministry 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.” UN chief seeks 2,500 more troops for Mali mission, where Chinese peacekeeper was killed 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 armour 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. Despite the costs, China is right to join UN peacekeeping missions Some 3,100 Chinese peacekeepers are serving in 10 regions around the world, including 2,400 in Africa. Most are engineers, transport experts, police and medical staff. The forces sent to Mali in 2014 were China’s first overseas combat troops. President Xi Jinping promised in September to provide 8,000 personnel for UN peacekeeping operations.