Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday appealed to the United Nations to pay more attention to the security of Cambodian peacekeepers in Mali in the wake of Saturday’s attack on troops.
On Saturday, an attack was carried out by armed men on UN peacekeeping forces in central Mali, killing two and injuring five UN peacekeepers from Burkina Faso, Mr Hun Sen said.
During a meeting with garment workers in Kandal province yesterday, Mr Hun Sen called on government officials to closely monitor the situation in Mali in the wake of the attack.
“I take this opportunity to send a message to our troops in Mali that was attacked a few days ago by rebels,” he said. “The rebels used pickup trucks and bomb trucks to carry out an assault on a UN military base where Cambodian troops were stationed.”
“It was good luck for our Cambodian troops for not being in danger, but two Burkina Faso soldiers were killed and five were injured,” Mr Hun Sen added. “We have to monitor the situations in the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and South Sudan, and Lebanon.”
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali said last week that forces “repelled a complex attack, launched simultaneously by several pickup [trucks] armed with rocket launchers and machine guns.”
Even though some of Cambodia’s peacekeeping forces were stationed there, none were killed or wounded, Mr Hun Sen said.
Cambodia is an active participant of UN peacekeeping missions in conflict areas around the world. Since 2006, the Kingdom has sent more than 5,000 demining specialists, medics, engineers and observers on UN peacekeeping missions.
Last year, a Cambodian peacekeeper died due to malaria, while in May, four peacekeeping personnel died in the Central African Republic during an attack by Christian insurgents in the southeastern part of the country.
The Defence Ministry yesterday issued a statement saying that Cambodia will send engineers to join the UN in the CAR on Friday.
The ministry noted that 216 engineers and 73 military police officers will end their tour of duty in the CAR and South Sudan on Monday.
“It was the fifth time Engineer Unit 594 joined the UN in the CAR,” the ministry said. “This unit will now be rotated after it has successfully accomplished its peacekeeping mission.”
Earlier this month, the United Nations ranked Cambodia 29th among 122 countries that have sent peacekeeping forces to conflict areas around the world. Last year, the UN ranked Cambodia as 32nd for the most troops sent abroad.