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Kampot joins growing list of mine-free jurisdictions

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Kampot province was declared mine free on April 6 by Ly Thuch, vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA). CMAA

Kampot joins growing list of mine-free jurisdictions

Kampot province was declared mine free on April 6 by Ly Thuch, vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).

“Kampot is the 12th province [including Phnom Penh] to be declared mine-free under the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action under the slogan ‘Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles’. Cambodia has just 563sq km left to be completely cleared by 2025,” he said.

Thuch attended a ceremony to mark the occasion, in the presence of Minister of Industry of Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh.

“Mine clearance work in Kampot began in 1994. It involved demining operators from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre [CMAC], the Training Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance [NPMEC] and HALO Trust,” he said.

He said the operators had cleared “a total of 25,666,141sqm, corresponding to 252 mine and UXO [unexploded ordnance] fields”. They had destroyed 4,553 anti-personnel mines, 11 anti-tank mines and 28,872 munitions or other UXO. A total of 221,443 people had benefited from the work.

“This achievement is borne out of the value of peace under the win-win policy of Prime Minister Hun Sen. I appreciate the cooperation of the Kampot province, especially the provincial mine action committee and the working group that planned the mine action, achieving this excellent result,” he concluded.

In a report, the CMAA said that of the land cleared in the first three months of this year, 76 per cent was used to agriculture, meaning it would alleviate poverty and develop Cambodia.

The report said that 1,885sq km of the Kingdom remained infected with explosive remnants of war. The 563sq km that is affected by mines will be cleared by 2025, while the 729sq km that contains cluster munitions and the 593sq km that contains other UXOs will be resolved after 2025.

A statement from the Kampot provincial administration said CMAC had begun to deploy deminers in the province in August last year, and that they completed their work in November.

“The outcome of this operation was to 100 per cent liberate Kampot province from the threat of anti-personnel landmines. The province no longer contains any mines that are recorded in the national data,” it added.

Phnom Penh and 11 provinces have now been declared mine-free: Stung Treng, Kep, Prey Veng, Preah Sihanouk, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chhnang, Kandal, Takeo and Kampot.

At the MRC Summit and the Fourth International Conference in Vientiane, Laos on April 5, Hun Sen requested that regional development partners pay close attention to solving the problem of UXOs in the Mekong River, in order to avoid exposing the public to danger.


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