The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) will train 15 Colombian deminers to increase their knowledge and operational management skills.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said as the Covid-19 situation is effectively under control in both countries, Columbia feels comfortable sending the latest team of deminers to Siem Reap province for training. The training was attended by former Colombian President Andres Pastrana.

“This course will focus on the subject “Quality Management and Operational Standards” and will run for two weeks from May 30 to June 9,” he said.

The training will be attended by a total of 15 Columbian participants, including two women. Ten of the trainees are soldiers in the infantry, two are members of the navy and one is from the Columbian Air Force. Two representatives of peacekeeping institutions in the field of demining from the Ministry of National Defence will also attend.

Ratana said Colombia is the first country to join the “South-South cooperation” – technical cooperation among developing countries in the Global South – in mine action in collaboration with CMAC, which has so far run 10 training courses for the South Americans and trained 173 mine action specialists.

He added that the South-South cooperation training project is supported by the Japanese government and implemented by its development arm Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Cheng Seng Khim, deputy chief of the 6th Mine Action Unit in Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces, is very proud that Cambodia has become a recognised country for demining skills and received foreign trainees regularly.

“Because we have many years of experience and are well trained, we have many skills we can pass on. In recent years, it has not just been Columbia that has approached us for our expertise,” he said.

Seng Khim noted that Iraq, Laos and several other countries had also come to receive training in Cambodia, while he and other specialists had gone abroad to train foreigners in the field of mines.

“I went to teach in Colombia in December 2021, as one of just three instructors. We taught operational and information management and training management,” he said.

Regarding mine action in Cambodia, he said that because the country has updated its strategic plans for exploration and demining, CMAC is now preparing new technologies and accelerating cooperation.