The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) and Apopo Cambodia on December 16 signed a memorandum of understanding on demining cooperation at the CMAC headquarters, with CMAC committing to providing the trained rats and dogs at the heart of the landmine detection operation.
The agreement was signed by CMAC director-general Heng Ratana and Apopo-Cambodia programme manager Michael Heiman. Apopo will provide $351,711 to support the project for one year from January 1, to December 31, 2022. This was the ninth year of cooperation between CMAC and Apopo on landmine detecting dogs and rats.
Heng Ratana told The Post that Apopo purchased eight dogs from CMAC in 2021 to conduct operations in Sudan, Angola and along the Turkish border with Syria.
In addition to helping with demining efforts in Preah Vihear province, the Apopo team was also educating neighbouring communities on the risks of explosives.
The education programme aimes to disseminate information to students on how to protect themselves and those around them in order to reduce landmine casualties and other threats, according to Heiman.
“Once people in the communities are educated about this topic they immediately begin reporting any suspect objects they find and our demining team can then investigate and deal with the findings,” Heiman said.