CAMBODIA is set to send a new contingent of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers to Sudan later this month, the fifth group to assist in de-mining operations in the conflict-ridden country, officials said Sunday.
Sem Sovanny, director general of the Institute for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and ERW (explosive remnants of war) Clearance (IFPMEC), said 52 soldiers had been assigned to replace 52 who will be returning to Cambodia on June 22.
“The 52 deminers will depart from Cambodia to Sudan on June 19 or June 20 to rotate with the 52 deminers who are completing their mission there,” he said.
Taing Bunkry, team leader of 52 deminers from Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Platoon 405 who arrived in Sudan last June, said that the group had completed its mission on June 2 and is preparing for the trip home.
“We are all fine, and we have successfully completed the one-year mission,” he said by phone from Sudan late Sunday.
He added that he did not have up-to-date statistics on the group’s work.
A report released in April, however, noted that the Platoon 405 deminers had cleared 14 antitank mines, 116 antipersonnel mines and 1,478 pieces of unexploded ordnance since November, when work began following a five-month training course.
Cambodia has sent some 468 peacekeepers to Sudan on four missions since 2006. During the first three missions, Cambodian deminers cleared 2,449 antipersonnel mines, 172 antitank mines and 35,785 ERW pieces, according to a June 2009 report published by IFPMEC.
Peacekeepers from the RCAF have also participated in missions in Chad and the Central African Republic. In April, the UN approved a contingent of at least 200 troops that is set to join the UN Interim Force in Lebanon.
Defence Minister Tea Banh said in an address in March that RCAF troops would soon start learning English and other foreign languages in order to expand international military cooperation efforts.