The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation System (JICS), is conducting a training course on the use and maintenance of specialised demining equipment for eight trainees from Colombia.

The course, conducted at the Techo Santepheap Museum in Siem Reap province, is scheduled to run from October 30 to December 5.

On the opening day, CMAC announced that it would provide four trainers for the five-week course, with funding from the JICS. The training includes both theory and practice in the field.

Owing to its extensive experience, CMAC has previously offered similar training to demining specialists from several other countries, including Iraq and Laos.

CMAC deputy director-general Oum Phumro addressed the opening ceremony of the course, extending thanks the Japanese government for providing the necessary funding for the training, though JICS.

He expressed hopes that the training would run smoothly and successfully and that the Columbian trainees would master the techniques on offer.

“Cooperation between CMAC and Colombia has been going on for a long time, since 2010. We recently launched a new technical project which will run from 2023 until 2026,” he said.

He added that the project will improve the testing of some new technologies which should help speed up demining operations in Colombia.

“CMAC uses three main tools for demining – manual demining, the use of dogs and specialised equipment. We have the ability to clear mines from almost 300sq km of land per year,” he said.

In the past 30 years, 2,795sq km of land in Cambodia has been rendered safe from the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Millions of landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) have been located and destroyed, benefitting more than 11 million people.

However, 1,817sq km remains contaminated, with more than 1.1 million people continuing to live with the threat posed by the silent killers.