T HE Cambodian Mine Action Centre has announced it is completely suspending operations in Battambang and Sisophon in the wake of the upsurge in fighting. HE Cambodian Mine Action Centre has announced it is completely suspending
operations in Battambang and Sisophon in the wake of the upsurge in fighting.
It will transfer some 1,000 staff to work in a "corridor" running from
Phnom Penh to Kampot and Kompong Som.
CMAC withdrew most of its staff
from the two northeastern towns to Phnom Penh as they came under threat from
Khmer Rouge offensives at the beginning of the month.
Advisor Colonel George Fox said they would now be redeployed to bases in Kampot,
Takeo and Kompong Speu provinces.
Areas of the 5 million square meters
already cleared by the Battambang and Sisophon teams which have temporarily
fallen into KR hands must now be considered as suspect again. But Col Fox denied
the move was made out of frustration.
He said: "It is not a question of
disappointment at what has happened. We are mainly concerned with the 300 people
being killed a month by mines, which is an enormous burden on Cambodian
Col Fox explained that the move was to keep the demining teams
in action and it was still too unsafe for them to work in the northeastern
provinces, which have some of the most heavily mined areas in the country.
He said liaison teams would be maintained in Battambang and Sisophon and
deminers would move back when it was considered safe. Deminers working with the
Norwegian People's Aid Group will be relocating alongside CMAC.