kompong speu province – Cambodia’s expertise in disposing of unexploded ordnance is paying off in the central African country of Sudan as the country enters its fourth year of supplying peacekeeping soldiers to the UN, a senior government official said Tuesday at a ceremony to mark the next departure in the coming months.
Cambodia first sent 135 troops to Sudan, at the request of the UN in March 2005 and has rotated troops through Sudan each year since.
“Our country has suffered greatly by landmines because our country was in a civil war for many years and there were many landmines spread on the battlefields,” Prak Sokhon, secretary of state for the Council of Ministers, said Tuesday at the Institute for Peacekeeping Forces, Mine and (Explosive Remnant of War) Clearance in Kompong Speu Province.
Cambodia’s years of de-mining experience helped to clear a 58-sq-km patch of Sudan of unexploded ordnance and has resulted in 212 km of cleared roads, he said.
RCAF soldiers also built six bridges, a portion of a road and a regional water supply system, Prak Sokhon said, adding that the next re-supply of troops to Sudan will be in May or June.
“We have three brigades on standby for the needs of UN peacekeeping missions,” he continued, adding that Cambodia has also sent troops for peacekeeping training in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia and will send some to Chad this year.
Officials at the Institute for Peacekeeping Forces, Mine and ERW Clearance also announced that Cambodia will host multilateral peacekeeping exercises in March 2010 in Kompong Speu province.
“The three weeks of exercises will see 2,000 troops from 13 countries participate,” Prak Sokhon said, adding that a total of 20 countries will be a part of the training.
Soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, US, as well as European Union and Southeast Asian countries will participate in the US- and UN-sponsored event, he added.