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Ceremony to be held for 184 UN peacekeepers

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodia ranks 29th out of 122 troop-contributing countries. KT/Mai Vireak

The government will hold a homecoming ceremony on Thursday for 184 peacekeepers who returned from Lebanon in January.

The Defence Ministry said in a statement yesterday that the ceremony is to be held at the Council of Ministers.

The ceremony is to be presided by Defence Minister General Tea Banh.

“This ceremony is to welcome the 184 returning soldiers, including 13 women, and congratulate them on the completion of their one year tour with the United Nations in Lebanon,” Gen Banh said, adding that the soldiers arrived on January 29.

Defence Ministry spokesman General Chhum Sucheat said the ceremony was delayed due to Gen Banh’s conflicting schedules and organisers were forced to hold the ceremony at a later date.

“We are organising this homecoming ceremony because we want to highlight their work as UN peacekeepers who represent Cambodia and promote our values,” Gen Sucheat said. “We will continue to send peacekeeping forces to UN missions because we want to show that we love peace.”

He added that Gen Banh will at the end of the year visit UN headquarters in New York to discuss the future of Cambodian peacekeepers.

So far, Cambodia has sent nearly 6,000 blue helmets to join the UN peacekeeping missions in conflict areas around the world since 2006.

In November last year, four Cambodian peacekeepers working for the UN were injured in a car bomb attack which killed two people in northern Mali.

The four included Phin Sarann, a former CMAC staffer working as an interpreter with the UN’s mine-clearing operation. Mr Sarann had injuries on his ribs and head.

The other three who suffered minor injuries were Hul Sok Heng, Ream Dy and Sam Ratha.

Mr Sok Heng and Mr Dy were former CMAC officers and Mr Ratha was a former staffer with demining group Halo Trust.

In January 2017, a Cambodian peacekeeper died of malaria while on a mission in the Central African Republic.

Luy Bunlong, a driver for the Engineering Construction unit, reportedly contracted malaria and died in a hospital in the eastern city of Bria after his condition had worsened.

In May 2017, four Cambodian soldiers working with the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic were killed and another was injured in an attack by Christian insurgents in the southeastern part of the country.

The Defence Ministry had identified them as First Lieutenant Im Som, Warrant Officer Mom Tola, Captain Mao Eng and Warrant Officer Seang Norin.

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