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Mines injure 3 in Mali, B Meanchey

Two Cambodian UN peacekeepers were injured after their armoured personnel carrier (APC) hit a landmine in Mali on Saturday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed solidarity while speaking at a dinner with dozens of tycoons and senior government officials at Koh Pich on Saturday Night.

“The report just arrived from Mali . . . A team of Cambodian peacekeepers hit a landmine, slightly injuring two,” the prime minister said, adding that Cambodian peacekeepers are also serving in UN missions in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Chad and Lebanon.

Sem Sovanny, director-general of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ (RCAF) peacekeeping and mine clearance divisions said that the injury occurred while the team travelled to clear landmines.

“One injured his head while the other one injured his leg,” Sovanny said, adding that Cambodian teams are responsible for clearing mines when peacekeepers set up camp.

According to Sovanny, Mali is the most dangerous among the countries where Cambodian peacekeepers are present.

Meanwhile, in Banteay Meanchey province, a man lost a leg and may lose the other after trespassing into a forest to search for rubber resin and stepping on a land mine yesterday morning.

Or Yong, the deputy commander of RCAF Brigade 807, said that the victim, Seum Di, 27, lived in Oddar Meanchey province and was with six others when the incident occurred in the Dangrek Mountains near Border Post 27.

“The victim lost one leg, while the other leg was severely injured and may have to be amputated because of chemical decay,” Yong said.

He said that in the restricted area there are many mines, and that Di had stepped on a K-58, which is about the size of a compact disc and typically does not kill.

“My soldiers put in efforts in banning people from climbing the area because of landmines, but also because of proximity to the Thai border where they may get shot,” Yong continued.

Sorn Bun Chheut, a Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) official, said that, including this latest case, there have been five mine incidents in Banteay Meanchey province since the start of the year, of which only one was fatal.

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