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Demining Mali goal for troops

The Ministry of Defence will dispatch more than 300 members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) to Mali as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, a senior government official said yesterday.

Lieutenant General Sem Sovanny, general director of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and ERW Clearance, said 30 team leaders will be positioned in northern Mali on Sunday, followed by a total of 298 troops that will be dispatched later this month.

The contingent – Cambodia’s first to Mali under the UN umbrella – will undertake demining, ordnance disposal and airport maintenance.

Prak Sokhon, chairman of the national coordination committee of the UN’s peacekeeping operation, said the mission will be “very dangerous and challenging”.

The West African nation was plunged into turmoil after a coup in March 2012. France launched a military operation last year that helped oust rebels, but fighting continues.

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