Two Cambodian Peacekeepers Injured by Explosion in Mali

Two U.N. Cambodian peacekeepers were injured in Mali on Friday when the truck they were traveling in ran over an improvised explosive device, military officials said Sunday. Last month, two Cambodian peacekeepers in Mali died of suspected food poisoning.

Friday’s incident reportedly occurred at about 8 a.m. and left one Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) officer with a serious leg injury while another escaped with minor injuries.

“Our two peacekeeping…soldiers were traveling by truck at the mission in Mali when their truck ran over an anti-tank mine and it exploded, causing one peacekeeper serious injuries while another was thrown from the truck but only suffered minor injuries,” said Major General Klork Sary, deputy director of the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces.

Sim Voeun, the soldier seriously injured, is currently receiving treatment in Mali, according to Gen. Sary.

Gen. Sary said he has been informed by Cambodian officials in Mali that the tank was traveling in a convoy alongside eight trucks carrying Senegalese peacekeepers, none of whom were injured by the blast. An official report is expected later this week.

“It is bad luck for our RCAF peacekeepers as it was the seventh truck in the convoy and it ran over the anti-tank mine when the other six trucks went ahead safely,” Gen. Sary added.

Cambodia has deployed peacekeepers to Chad, Sudan, South Sudan and Lebanon in recent years, but Mali has proven the most dangerous destination.

Last month, Meak Sereivathana, 26, and Ny Nol, 32, died from suspected food poisoning, though an autopsy was not performed on their bodies.

Mr. Sereivathana and Mr. Nol were reportedly the first Cambodian soldiers to die while engaged in U.N. peacekeeping missions, which has involved more than 1,600 troops.

Cambodian troops were sent to the West African nation in February as part of the U.N. Multinational Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINSUMA). The mission was launched in 2013 amid ongoing unrest after an April 2012 coup by ethnic Tuaregs in the north.

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