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Blue helmets leave for mission

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
A UN peacekeeper before departing to Lebanon. Swift News

Cambodia on Sunday sent off 184 blue helmets to join a United Nation peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.

General Sem Sovanny, director-general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, said during the sending off ceremony at Phnom Penh International Airport that the peacekeepers would replace a previous batch who will return to the Kingdom today after completing their year-long mission.

“This is the 40th time that Cambodia has sent its forces to join a UN peacekeeping mission and the ninth time that we have sent our blue helmets to Lebanon,” he said.

NCPF spokesman Major General Phal Samorn yesterday said the 184 peacekeepers sent to Lebanon yesterday included13 women.

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

“Cambodia will continue to send our blue helmets to participate in UN peacekeeping missions because our head of the government has agreed to help,” Maj Gen Samorn added.

An official addresses blue helmet peacekeepers on Sunday. Swift News

In November last year four Cambodians 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 UNMAS, 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.

The UN has ranked Cambodia 29th out of 122 troop-contributing countries, and second among Asean countries for the most female peacekeepers.

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