After completing a successful one-year UN peacekeeping mission in Minusma, Mali, 298 Cambodian "blue helmets" including 25 women have returned, according to National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC) director-general Sem Sovanny.

Sovanny said on October 4 that in order to ensure they are not carrying Covid-19, they will undergo a 21-day quarantine at the Training Centre for Multinational Peacekeeping Forces in Kampong Speu province and an additional 14-day quarantine at home.

“This is a standard procedure, even though our troops already tested negative for Covid-19 in the country where they completed their mission,” he said.

Sovanny conveyed a message from Prime Minister Hun Sen, Minister of National Defence Tea Banh and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn to the peacekeepers for all the sacrifices made to enhance Cambodia’s honour on the international stage.

According to Sovanny, the force returned after a group of the same number departed for the UN mission to Mali on October 1.

Since 2006, Cambodia has sent more than 7,000 peacekeepers to carry out humanitarian missions under the UN umbrella in Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Lebanon, Syria, Mali, Central African Republic, Cyprus and Yemen.

Cambodia currently has nearly 800 blue helmets abroad. Among them, 80 are women who have been carrying out peacekeeping missions with the UN in Lebanon, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.