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Peacekeepers in Mali injured by UXO blast

UN peacekeepers participate in a ceremony in February at Phnom Penh
UN peacekeepers participate in a ceremony in February at Phnom Penh International Airport before departing for Mali. Heng Chivoan

Peacekeepers in Mali injured by UXO blast

Two Cambodian United Nations peacekeepers in Mali were injured after their car ran over an anti-personnel landmine on Friday.

Driver Sim Veoun’s leg was broken in the blast, while the other wounded peacekeeper, Chan Saveoun, was slightly injured, according to Ouk Bunthan, deputy director of the mines and explosive war remnants clearance department at the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces.

“We regret the incident, even if the men are not in serious condition,” Bunthan said.

“Veoun’s leg injury was not serious enough for it to be cut off and now he is in hospital in Mali.”

Bunthan said that seven to eight cars passed by the landmine, but only Veoun’s car hit and triggered it.

The Ministry of Defence dispatched a total of 309 members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to Mali as part of a UN peacekeeping mission earlier this year.

The contingent undertakes demining, ordinance disposal and airport maintenance. The two injured peacekeepers were helping reconstruct an airport road when their car was hit.

Cambodia has contributed to UN peacekeeping forces in various countries, but the contingent is Cambodia’s first to be sent to Mali.

Two Cambodian soldiers from the UN’s peacekeeping mission in that country died of food poisoning on June 10, the first fatalities since Cambodia started sending troops to the UN eight years ago. Their bodies were repatriated later that month.

Mali has been in a state of turmoil ever since a coup in March 2012 ousted then-president Amadou Toure.

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