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Cambodian blue helmets return from South Sudan

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70 Cambodian peacekeepers returned from South Sudan on December 13. NPMEC

Cambodian blue helmets return from South Sudan

Cambodian peacekeepers played a core role in overseeing the discipline and order of all UN staff on duty and ensuring they complied with the laws of South Sudan, said Colonel Tes Seiha, Commander of the 739th Royal Gendarmerie Squadron.

Seiha and more than 70 peacekeepers returned from their deployment on December 13.

“The first core task we were given by the regional mission chief was to oversee the discipline and order of all UN personnel on duty. Our second role was to monitor traffic order and safety on the roads by checking the speed of vehicles and breathalysing drivers,” he told The Post.

He added that the Cambodian “blue helmets” were also responsible for checking identity cards and searching for prohibited materials at the entrances to UN camps.

“We also patrolled on foot and in vehicles in and outside of the camps to provide security of UN staff and protect their property,” he said.

The Cambodian forces were deployed in seven bases at headquarters in Juba, UN-House, Bor, Malakal, Wau, Bentiu and Rumbek. They had also participated in humanitarian activities by providing educational materials, food and other supplies to orphanages. The people of South Sudan were pleased with the presence of the UN mission.

He stressed that the peacekeepers had all fulfilled their missions successfully. He said their commitment had brought the Kingdom honour on the international stage.

“We were able to complete all of our tasks, so they appreciated us. Our forces, who just finished a one-year mission, received positive comments from everyone we worked with,” he said.

Sem Sovanny, vice-chairman of the National Committee of UN Peacekeeping Operations and director-general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC), addressed the 73 soldiers – 34 off them women – upon their return.

“Cambodian blue helmets have an excellent reputation within the UN as they do not involve themselves in violence or human trafficking,” he said.

He said the fact that 46.5 per cent of the troops were women – the highest percentage deployed –reflected the strong commitment of the government to the UN’s “Women for Peace and Security” (WPS) agenda.

“The success of the 739th Royal Gendarmerie Squadron’s one-year mission is due to the fact that it has been trained according to international standards. It adhered to the message of Minister of National Defence Tea Banh and focused on operating safely at all times” he added.

Since 2006, Cambodia has sent 8,475 peacekeepers on humanitarian missions with the UN to nine countries: Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Lebanon, Syria, Mali, Central African Republic (CAR), Cyprus and Yemen.

Currently, more than 800 Cambodian peacekeepers are deployed under the UN umbrella. They are currently serving in South Sudan, Mali, Lebanon and CAR.


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