KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Thirty U.S. Air Force members from Europe arrived Thursday in Kigali, Rwanda, to prepare for a two-week airlift mission of Rwandan peacekeepers to the Darfur region of Sudan.

Two C-130 transport planes and about 120 airmen from Ramstein Air Base’s 86th Airlift Wing and 435th Air Base Wing are expected to arrive in Kigali to begin the airlift in the next several days, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe news release issued Thursday.

The Air Force planes will carry Rwandan troops to Darfur as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission in the region. Eventually, 3,500 African peacekeepers from Rwanda and Nigeria will bolster the monitoring force in Darfur.

More than 1.6 million refugees have fled a civil war there, creating what the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

The Air Force advance team members, most from Ramstein and RAF Mildenhall, England, will set up the airfield, security and logistics for the airlift operation, the release said.

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