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CMAA seeks 2,000 soldiers to partake in mine-clearance

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
CMAA vice president Ly Thuch in a conference. KT/Siv Channa

The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority is seeking 2,000 army personnel to engage in demining so the Kingdom can to achieve its mine-free goal by 2025.

Speaking at a landmine conference in Phnom Penh yesterday, CMAA’s first vice president Ly Thuch said that the Kingdom is aiming to clear areas littered with landmines by 2025 and needs to engage 2,000 soldiers into its demining contingents.

“We have several main keys to reach our mine-free target by 2025 and we need 2,000 Royal Cambodian Army soldiers to participate in mine-clearing,” Mr Thuch said.

Defence Ministry spokesman General Chhum Sucheat could not be reached for comment yesterday.

He said that the CMAA will complete surveying 73 districts being mostly contaminated with explosive remnants of war next year and release 806 square kilometres of anti-personnel mine contamination land from 2020 to 2025.

Mr Thuch noted the Kingdom needs financial assistance to achieve its mine-free goals by 2025.

“We projected an overall budget, including for other risks totalling $377 million,” Mr Thuch said. “If the required funds are attainable and the Royal Cambodian Army is fully involved in the humanitarian demining as we intended, the 2025 mine-free target is a dream comes true.”

About 1,900 square kilometres of land have been cleared of mines, but another 2,000 square kilometres of land still needs to be cleared.

Tun Channareth, an ambassador for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and a landmine survivor, yesterday said 25 years ago he and other landmine survivors pleaded to the world to ban landmines, clear mines and assist the victims.

“We do not know who to beg. We just know that governments, businesses and armies made mines and planted them. We lost our legs,” Mr Channareth. “We need to have mine-clearing finished by 2025.”

Nick Beresford, a UNDP resident representative, said last week in the meeting between government officials and representatives of donors, embassies, and local and international organisations that donors and development partners were committed to help fund mine clearance.

“There has been tremendous progress on mine clearance, but we still have lots of work to carry out,” he said. “We have a very strong commitment from development partners, so I think that we together with CMAA, and the development partners can put together a new programme for 2020 to 2025; at the moment its budget is about $20 million but that might go up.”

According to the CMAA report, 71 victims of mines and UXOs were recorded from January until October in which 11 people were killed, 47 injured and 13 amputated.

It said that from 1979 until October 2019, 19,779 people were killed, 36,023 injured and 9,047 amputated.

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