A TEAM of 94 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) deminers returned to Cambodia on Tuesday after tours of duty as part of UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Chad.
Minister of Defence Tea Banh, who presided over a ceremony at the Phnom Penh military air base, praised the peacekeepers for their humanitarian contributions.
“Today, you have returned home with fame and great success. We are so proud of you all,” he said.
In June of last year, the Cambodian government sent 52 de-miners from RCAF’s Platoon 405 to Sudan and 42 peacekeepers from Platoon 306 to Chad.
Taing Bunkry, the team leader of Platoon 405, said that, in addition to its demining work, his team had helped to build roads and houses and deliver clean water to villagers.
“Despite facing difficulty at times with the high temperatures in Sudan, we are all happy with the results of the UN mission,” he said.
Douglas Broderick, the UN’s resident coordinator for Cambodia, expressed his appreciation for the work of the de-miners.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Royal Government to increase our cooperation and coordination with Cambodia’s peacekeepers and we stand ready to assist the Government with future Peacekeeping deployments,” he said in an email.
Cambodia has sent some 468 peacekeepers to Sudan on four missions since 2006, and additional RCAF troops have been sent to Chad and the Central African Republic.
Prak Sokhon, chairman of the National Coordination Committee of UN Peacekeeping Operations, said at Monday’s ceremony that another 200 troops are set to join the UN Interim Force in Lebanon next month.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANIEL PORDES