Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Four Cambodians injured in Mali suicide blast

Four Cambodians injured in Mali suicide blast

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian peacekeeper was placed in Mali. Supplied

Four Cambodians injured in Mali suicide blast

Four Cambodians were injured, one seriously, in a suicide attack in Mali’s Gao city late on Monday, the Ministry of Defence said. The blast killed three people. Malian civilians working for the UN died in the attack in the violence-plagued north of the African Sahel region nation.

The attack was claimed by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), which is the area’s main jihadist group with links to al-Qaeda.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat told The Post on Wednesday that the wounded Cambodians were Phen Saran, Hul Sokheng, Riem Dy and Sam Ratha.

They had been working as translators for the UN Mine Action Service (Unmas) since November 2014.

They were not part of the Cambodian peacekeeping force of the UN mission in Mali. They had formerly worked for demining organisations the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) and the Halo Trust.

“Among the four victims, Phen Saran was badly injured. His ribs were fractured and he suffered severe head injuries. He was sent to a Chinese hospital in Mali, while the other three men suffered minor injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital,” Socheat said.

A ministry statement said a vehicle heading towards the UN office in Gao exploded in a residential area.

Two Malian UN employees were killed immediately, while 14 others, including the Cambodians, were injured and taken to a hospital.

The driver of the 4x4 vehicle was killed in the blast.

The GSIM said the attack had targeted “invading crusader forces” in central Gao in an area “where there are British, German and Canadian troops”, according to AFP.

The director-general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Sem Sovanny, told The Post on Wednesday that no Cambodian peacekeeping troops in the area were hurt in the attack.

Cambodia has a force of 309 peacekeepers in Mali, divided into two groups of 165 engineers and 144 deminers.

On March 22, Cambodian peacekeeping forces there were unhurt in a guerrilla attack that injured five French soldiers.

“The attack last night in Gao was despicable. Once again, it is civilians who have paid for this violence with their lives,” said French Defence Minister Florence Parly, who was on a visit to Gao with her German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen to discuss the situation in Mali, AFP reported.

Islamist extremists took control of the north of Mali in early 2012, which prompted a military intervention from France.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • Is Cambodia’s microfinance sector running its course?

    Economic growth and the strength of the banking system might have prompted a slow decline of the microfinance segment that has been raising a population ‘The MFI business model is over,” opined David Van, a Cambodian investment expert, recently. He felt that in a couple