Dead Cambodian Peacekeepers Repatriated Wednesday

The bodies of two Cambodian military personnel who died last week while on a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali will be repatriated Wednesday, according to a senior official.

Meak Sereivathana, 26, and Ny Nol, 32, died of suspected food poisoning in the West African nation on June 10.

The pair were part of a 309-strong deployment sent by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) to assist in stabilizing Mali through their expertise in engineering and mine clearing.

“Our two men who died in Mali will return to the country on [June] 18,” said RCAF spokesman General Chhum Sucheat.

General Sem Sovanny, director-general of the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces, said last week that the bodies would undergo autopsies before being repatriated, but Olivier Salgado, the spokesperson for the U.N. mission in Mali, said that the Cambodian government had asked for the bodies to be returned without an autopsy.

“The Cambodian government wanted to keep the opportunity to…conduct the autopsy themselves,” Mr. Salgado said via email. Gen. Sucheat said he was not aware of such a request.

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