The Kingdom’s 219 “blue helmets” on February 20 departed for a humanitarian mission in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The troops dispatched on this UN peacekeeping mission include the multi-skills engineer division 432.

A farewell ceremony was held at the Phnom Penh International Airport and presided over by Sem Sovanny, director-general of the Institute for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance.

Sovanny said this was the eighth year for the ongoing mission to CAR, and the multi-skills engineering division 432 would continue to be entrusted by the UN with the responsibility to con-tribute to maintaining peace in countries affected by conflict and division.

“Today is another source of pride for our motherland. Our heroic warriors have trained hard for a long time to gain the confidence of the UN and the head of government. In order to apply these skills directly in the field, the brigade also added 15 more experts in explosives demolition, bringing the total force to 219,” he said, adding that there will be English speakers to help with communication and filling out paperwork when needed.

“All forces must consider safety first, especially during the performance of duties. They must not underestimate any situation and must learn from experience and correct any mistakes that have occurred to achieve success for our country, families and ourselves,” he said.

Sovanny further warned the division chiefs not to go “easy on themselves, strict on others” when it comes to discipline and to have a clear work plan to avoid creating vacancies that could lead to conflicts.

“Remember that the presence of our forces not only represents the UN, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance, but also the whole of Cambodia. Therefore, all activities, both inside and outside working hours, must consider our national honour first,” he said.

He said that while the problem of Covid-19 continues to spread around the world, especially in the mission areas where Cambodia deploys, safety measures must be strictly implemented in accordance with the UN, WHO and the Ministry of Health guidance to avoid infection.

He reminded them that Cambodia has already lost one soldier due to the coronavirus in Mali previously and they must prevent it from happening again.

“Cambodia went through nearly three decades of war and only achieved comprehensive peace throughout the country in 1998 through the win-win policy of [Prime Minister Hun Sen], which has now enabled Cambodia to contribute to peacekeeping missions in nine other countries, including 10 missions in Africa, the Middle East and Europe from 2006 to the present,” he said.