The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) has successfully conducted a training course in the use of new demining equipment. The session took place in Siem Reap, and was delivered to both Cambodian and international demining operators.

Following completion of the training, the new units – F3 compact mine detectors – will be put into in the provinces near the Thai border.

Ly Thuch, CMAA first vice-president, explained on November 12 that modern equipment provides optimum levels of safety to deminers.

He said that the use of dated equipment can be very dangerous. Modern equipment is not only safer, but is more efficient at clearing land, meaning safe land can be returned to the people sooner.

He said that in order to make Cambodia landmine-free by 2025, the government – as well as its international partners – are ramping up supported, in terms of funding and new technology.

The CMAA received the F3 compact mine detector as a grant from the Japanese government, but technical training was required before it could be put into use in the field.

“This new type of mine detector provides increased safety for deminers and means we are able to cover more land. Our older machines would alert us to the presence of iron, and we would have to carefully dig up the item to ascertain whether it contained explosives. These new units can tell us if no explosive materials are present, so we can move on,” Thuch explained.

He said that the training, which took place from November 6 to 9, was supported by Norwegian People’s Aid. The machines will be distributed to trained teams working in Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey provinces.