Home | News    Friday 22 May 2009

Cambodia to send fresh soldiers for de-mining operation

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May 21, 2009 (PHNOM PENH) – Cambodia, one of the world’s most heavily mined countries, is sending 52 soldiers to replace some members of its group who take part in landmines clearence in southern Sudan, defence officials said on Thursday.

The group of 52 de-miners is expected to arrive in war-recovering Sudan in early June, reported the government news agency Agence Kampuchea Press (AKP). An outgoing company of Cambodian de-miners is based in Malakal, Upper Nile.

They will join the international peacekeeping mission known as UNMIS, while the outgoing solders will return home in mid-June, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Gen. Sem Sovanny was quoted as saying.

He said that the United States had trained most of the Cambodian soldiers who will be sent to Sudan, as well as others who are preparing to be sent to Chad and Central African Republic.

Gen. Sovanny is also a director general of the National Management Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War. His country witnessed three decades of civil war ended in 1998, becoming one of the world’s most heavily mined countries. Its military thus has extensive experience in removing land mines.

In the past 10 years, Phnom Penh has destroyed an estimated 1.6 million landmines. Cambodia’s first demining team had arrived in Sudan in February 2006.

The Sudanese government and the former rebel SPLM signed in January 2005 a peace deal ending two decades of war in southern Sudan. In March 2005, The U.N. Security Council voted to send 10,700 peacekeepers to Sudan to monitor the peace deal, which is known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

(ST)

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