The families of four Cambodian peacekeepers killed in the Central African Republic while on a UN peacekeeping mission have each received $70,000 in compensation from the United Nations.
A ceremony to hand over the money was held yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, presided over by Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn and Clair Van Der Vaeran, the UN’s coordinator for Cambodia.
The four peacekeepers killed in May by a rebel group were Captain Mao Eng, 37; First Lieutenant Im Som, 37, a bulldozer driver; Warrant Officer Seang Norin, 35, a quality control assistant; and Warrant Officer Mom Tola, 31, an assistant excavator driver.
General Sem Sovanny, the secretary-general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, said that 4,769 Cambodian troops have been deployed on peacekeeping missions since 2006 in eight countries; Chad, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, North Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Cyprus and Mali.
“Since 2014, nine Cambodian peacekeepers have died and 11 have been injured,” he said.
There are now 816 Cambodian peacekeepers on missions in Africa, he added.
Mr Sokhonn used the ceremony to address 216 troops who will soon be leaving to join UN peacekeeping missions abroad, advising them to prioritise their safety in risky situations.
“I would like to express my deep condolences to the families of the four victims and I would like to thank the United Nations for offering the compensation,” he added.
Ms Van Der Vaeran also shared her condolences and said she admired Cambodian peacekeepers who had sacrificed their lives for their missions.
“On behalf of the United Nations, I would like to honour the four Cambodian peacekeepers who died during their missions in May,” she said.
Seang Sen, the father of Warrant Officer Norin, thanked the government and the UN for their support following his son’s death.
“I vow to use the compensation in accordance with the reputation of my son who sacrificed his life for the country’s honour and credit,” said Mr Sen.
Chhay Chamroeun, 34, the wife of Captain Eng, said she was devastated by the death of her husband.
“But I am very proud that my husband sacrificed himself for our nation,” she said.
Another peacekeeper, Suon Sambo, died of malaria on a mission abroad.
Mr Sovanny said Mr Sambo’s family was yet receive compensation because of technical problems, but the United Nations was reviewing his case.
Mr Sokhonn also asked Ms Van Der Vaeran to help push for compensation for Mr Sambo’s family.