Demining Dogs Off to B’Bang

Four dogs that have been training at the Cambodian Mine Action Center in Kompong Chhnang province are scheduled to be transferred to Battambang province for final tests next month, the organization’s director said Thursday. 

Two dogs are from Sweden and two are local ca­nines, he said at a press conference at CMAC headquarters. Of the 22 dogs at the training facility, six native dogs had to be dropped from the program, Sam Sotha said.

Mine-sniffing dogs have pro­ven efficient in other countries in quickly mapping mine fields because they can detect explosives with their keen sense of smell. Metal detectors cannot detect plastic mines.

Meanwhile, Sam Sotha reported a reduction in clearance activity at Banteay Meanchey’s Site 1 area due to the attack on its Demining Unit Number One facilities on June 13.

One CMAC deminer and one driver were killed when gunmen raided the area. Three local villagers also died in the attack. The facility was closed for one week after, Sam Sotha said.

Unit One cleared 73,110 square meters in June, compared to 213,447 square meters last month, according to a report.

CMAC teams cleared 900,408 square meters of land in June, and 1,175,296 square meters in May, the report said. Sam Sotha said it will take 25 to 30 years to clear Cambodia of its mines.

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