Record low deaths from landmines

Source: Phnom Penh Post

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Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhon speaks at the opening ceremony of the Minefield Management Course in Kompong Speu province yesterday. Photo supplied.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn said yesterday that casualties from landmines plummeted to a record low last year, while praising the ongoing work of Cambodian soldiers who take their demining skills abroad.

The remarks, which came at the opening ceremony of a new minefield management course in Kampong Speu, came just days after a deminer working for Britain’s Halo Trust was killed and another wounded while working in Pailin.

In the 1990s, Cambodia saw an average of 4,000 casualties from minefields annually, but the number dropped to just 83 last year, Sokhonn said.

Meanwhile, since 2006, 4,175 Cambodian demining experts have been sent to countries like Chad, Mali and Jordan to work as UN peacekeepers, with 892 currently deployed.

“Cambodian peacekeepers have had many achievements during the 11 years of their mission,” he said, adding that UN colleagues held them in esteem for their bravery, professionalism and discipline.

Cambodia has cleared about 1,500 square kilometres of landmines and unexploded ordnance since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, Sokhonn noted.

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