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139 peacekeepers return home from Mali​ UN mission

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
139 Blue Helmets arrive safely in Cambodia after completing a one-year UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. Facebook

A batch of 139 Cambodian peacekeepers returned home from Mali on Sunday evening after completing their UN missions.

Lieutenant General Ouk Sieng, deputy director of the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces (NCPF), said yesterday the Blue Helmets, including 11 women, arrived at the Phnom Penh International Airport after completing a one-year UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Lt Gen Sieng said  45 of them have been placed in 14-day quarantine at the Peacekeeping Forces Training Institute in Kampong Speu province’s Odong district, and the other 94 at the Training Centre for Multinational Peacekeeping Forces in Phnom Sruoch district.

“They were sent to quarantine in the two districts after health checks at the airport,” he said.

All 139 received tests for COVID-19 upon arrival, and according to NCPF, their results will come back from the Ministry of Health today.

The peacekeepers receive COVID-19 tests upon arrival in Cambodia. Facebook

A group of 218 peacekeepers was dispatched to Mali on Friday to join the UN peacekeeping mission and replace those who had just got back.

According to NCPF, Cambodia has nearly 800 blue helmet peacekeepers, including around 80 women, on peacekeeping missions with the UN in Lebanon, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.

Peacekeeper Thearith Reasmey told a local media outlet that there is a high presence of sandstorms, conflicts, terrorism and concern surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in Mali.

He said that before completing the peacekeeping mission they received training in self-defence, and learnt how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It gaves us a strong sense of commitment to peacekeeping in Mali, and we educated each other on how to implement COVID-19 prevention measures,” Reasmey  said.

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