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Cambodian ‘blue helmet’ injured in Lebanon mission

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92 Cambodian UN peacekeepers leave for a mission in Lebanon from Phnom Penh International Airport on January 31. DEFENCE MINISTRY

Cambodian ‘blue helmet’ injured in Lebanon mission

A Cambodian “blue helmet” was injured by a landmine at the LB1006 minefield in Meliss el Jabel of Marjayoun district in Lebanon where he was carrying out a UN peacekeeping mission there, according to Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat.

Socheat said on August 1 that First Lieutenant Uth Seila, 36, was from the the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mine and Explosive Remnants of War (NPMEC), and a resident of Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district.

He was seriously injured on the morning of July 30 while leading Cambodian peacekeeping forces who were clearing landmines in the area. He stepped on an AP-N04 Israeli-made landmine.

“The landmine that exploded that morning was detected on July 29. We prepared to remove it as per procedure. The next morning, our blue-helmet forces arrived there and identified irregularities – they saw footprints crossing there and one landmine was lost at the old location.

“They also saw new diggings. Seeing this, he began to conduct a search and immediately the mine exploded, causing him injury with shrapnel to his eyes and one hand and one leg were broken,” he said.

According to Socheat, technical officials in that area claimed that the mine had been buried there by unidentified armed men who had stolen the mine to recycle it.

Uth Seila was taken by helicopter immediately to a Level-4 hospital in Beirut, Lebanon. He is now receiving medical attention from their doctors.

NPMEC spokeswoman Kosal Malinda told The Post that her working group had not received any further reports regarding Seila from the doctors in Lebanon, besides the initial information about his injuries.

“So far, we do not know whether his injuries have improved yet. He is under medical treatment and receiving attention from specialist doctors,” she said, adding that this was the first injury caused by a landmine in the 16 years that Cambodian demining forces had been going on missions with the UN.

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