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Cambodian deminers meet Thai counterparts

A Cambodian Mine Action Centre official shows off the Kingdom’s mine-sniffing dogs during a visit by Thai deminers. National Police
A Cambodian Mine Action Centre official shows off the Kingdom’s mine-sniffing dogs during a visit by Thai deminers. National Police

Cambodian deminers meet Thai counterparts

Senior officials from Thailand’s Mine Action Centre are visiting their counterparts in Cambodia this week in an effort to develop stronger bilateral cooperation to clear landmines along the Cambodian-Thai border.

Wittaya Wachirakul, director of the Thailand Mine Action Centre, and nine other senior officials arrived on Monday for a four-day visit.

Thai officials will tour three provinces – Kampong Chnnang, Battambang and Siem Reap – to see landmine and mine-sniffing dog training.

Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, said the visit is aimed at improving relationships and exchanging ideas.

“We had just looked to share experiences of the dogs’ [training],” he said, adding that Cambodia has 72 trained dogs.

Both entities are planning a joint effort to clear landmines along the border, which will first focus on landmines at the O’Neang checkpoint between Banteay Meanchey province and Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province.

The Cambodian-Thai border was heavily mined in the 1980s as a part of the controversial K-5 plan by the Cambodian government and casualties there from unexploded ordnance are still common.

Government figures on UXO casualties for 2015 through February 2016 show that five of the top six provinces for casualties are located along the Thai border.

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