The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) is set to provide training in human resources management and the use and maintenance of mine clearing equipment to three groups of soldiers from Laos and Colombia.
CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said on Monday that of the 28 Colombian troops, 20 will receive training in mine clearance from June 24 to August 4, while eight others will receive two-month training from June 27 to August 20 on the use and maintenance of mine clearing equipment.
“After the training for the Colombian troops is completed, seven trainees from Laos will arrive to study staff management and human resources skills for four weeks – two weeks in Cambodia and another two in Laos,” he said.
During a handover ceremony of Chinese aid for mine clearance activity in the Kingdom, Ly Thuch said that over the past 27 years, Cambodia had cleared 1,869sq km of mines and unexploded ordnance left behind from the civil war.
Thuch is a senior minister in charge of Special Missions and secretary-general of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).
He said 1,070,381 anti-personnel mines, 24,925 anti-tank mines and 2,793,749 war-era explosive remnants had been detected and destroyed during the period, with a total of 5,522,602 people benefiting from the clearance.
Thuch said land that has been cleared of the civil war remnants is used for housing, crop cultivation and other development purposes.
He said Cambodia still has 2,149sq km of land to clear of unexploded ordnance that are threatening the lives of people – 920sq km of land detected with mines, 732sq km of land with cluster bombs, and 497sq km of mixed explosive remnants.
With the government committing to rid the country of all mines by 2025, Thuch said a budget of $354 million is needed to realise the goal.
“I hope by 2025, Cambodia will succeed in completely eliminating all landmines. We need assistance, particularly from Cambodian ally China to unearth demons hidden underground in the dark,” he said.
China provides aid
Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian said his government will continue to provide aid for mine clearing activities, including equipment to detect and clear mines, transportation means, stationeries and other humanitarian assistance.
To eliminate the threats posed by landmines and to help provide safe shelters, Wang said both Cambodia and China will join hands to contribute to mine clearing missions in the region and beyond.
“Whether within the regional or international framework, China and Cambodia will continue to support one another and China will also work with others to help countries still vulnerable to landmines by sharing experiences and technical support in mine clearing activity,” Wang said.
The Chinese aid provided at the ceremony included four Jinbei minibuses, 10 motorbikes, 40 items of mine-detecting equipment, 110 boxes of materials for mine clearing activity, four sets of protective clothing and 40 protective helmets.
Also provided were five UAV drones, 115 exploding initiators, 1,000 sets of uniforms, shoes, belts and hats as well as 69 boxes of printer toner cartridges, said the CMAA.
So far this year, there have been 61 victims of mines and war-era explosive remnants compared to 31 over the same period last year. Total casualties in all of last year were 58, the CMAA said.