Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian Blue Helmet dies of virus

Cambodian Blue Helmet dies of virus

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeeper Sar Savy died on Friday at 63 from Covid-19 while on a mission in the Republic of Mali. Supplied

Cambodian Blue Helmet dies of virus

The last rites for Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeeper Sar Savy, who died on Friday at 63 from Covid-19 while on a mission in the Republic of Mali, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the UN base there.

Cambodia’s National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces director-general Sem Sovanny told The Post on Sunday that Savy was a national-level military officer in good standing who had joined humanitarian work missions with the UN in Mali.

“Communicable Disease Control Department doctors in Mali are now preparing to disinfect Sar Savy’s remains to prepare for his last rites at the UN base in Mali,” he said.

He said UN peacekeepers from all countries who are on humanitarian missions in Mali were prepared to join the ceremony and many of them had expressed their deep regret over Savy’s death.

They said his death represented the loss of a resourceful, experienced Blue Helmet de-miner committed to restoring world peace.

Savy began his most recent mission in Mali in April last year as leader of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 231. After he completed his mission, he planned on returning to Cambodia this April, but his return was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sovanny said it is yet unknown when his body will be brought home to Cambodia. After requesting that his body be sent back, officials are now waiting for the decision of doctors and senior experts from the UN mission of Mali.

“Because Sar Savy died from Covid-19, we don’t know how the doctors and the UN experts in Mali will decide on our request to return his body to Cambodia. But the UN said it will inform us on the day of performing his last rites,” he said.

He said six Cambodian peacekeepers in Mali, including Savy, had been infected with Covid-19. Five of them have recovered.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Sunday that a total of 125 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in Cambodia, with 123 full recoveries.

One man is currently being treated at the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Hospital in Banteay Meanchey province, while the other is receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. The two latest cases were all imported.

There are five divisions of Cambodian Blue Helmet troops throughout the world, totalling 800 soldiers. Of that number, 80 are fulfilling peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.

In light of the 72nd anniversary of Peacekeeping Day of the UN last Friday, Sovanny wrote a letter about the contributions of women in maintaining peace.

It said in the past 14 years, Cambodia has dispatched 6,742 troops, including 3,612 women, to nine countries across the world to fulfil 11 different missions.

“From 2006 to now, nine Cambodian youths have sacrificed their lives in the battlefield of the mission areas in the Republic of Mali,” Sovanny said.

UN Resident Coordinator to Cambodia Pauline Tamesis said in a letter: “Since 1948, 3,900 Blue Helmet troops have died in the cause of maintaining peace, including nine Cambodian Blue Helmet troops.”


  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last