Officials and well-wishers said farewell during a ceremony on Wednesday morning at the Phnom Penh military airbase to 184 Cambodian peacekeepers set to join a U.N. mission in Lebanon.
The newly deployed forces from Cambodia’s Multirole Engineering Contingent Unit 369 will replace Unit 936 peacekeepers who recently completed their mission and are returning to Cambodia on Friday, said General Pol Saroeun, commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
“This is the seventh unit deployed to the Republic of Lebanon, where they will work in the area of construction, building new settlement bases and barracks, and other constructive work aiming at providing safety to all the Blue Berets in the area,” Gen. Saroeun said in a statement.
The U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon will gain 184 Cambodian personnel, including 16 women, according to Alexandre Huynh, U.N. resident coordinator.
Cambodia currently has 43 female peacekeepers deployed in various countries, Mr. Huynh said. “They represent a positive shift toward improved equality in the Cambodian armed forces.”
Since 2006, Cambodia has sent more than 4,180 personnel on U.N. peacekeeping missions in Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Syria, Lebanon, Mali and Cyprus, Mr. Huynh said.
On Monday, a Cambodian military officer reportedly died of complications from malaria while working with U.N. peacekeepers in Central African Republic. Sergeant Major Luy Bunlong was the fifth Cambodian peacekeeper to die while on a U.N. mission in Africa and the second to die after contracting malaria.
(Additional reporting by Khuon Narim)