Takeo province was officially declared “mine-free” in a March 21 ceremony attended by Ly Thuch, senior minister and first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), making it the 11th first-order administrative division to be cleared of mines as part of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s campaign to clear the entire Kingdom by 2025.

Thuch said the work was carried out with the support of the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action’s “Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles” campaign.

“To make Cambodia mine-free and free of the danger of landmines by 2025, we all have to continue to participate and follow the prime minister’s guidance to create a new era in history for the country and its people,” he said.

He added that March 21, 2023 marked a historic day for mine action in Cambodia because the entire population of Takeo was now freed from the threat of landmines.

“The clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war is an indispensable task and there are still three years left to go for us to finish clearing landmines to achieve the final goal in line with the vision of the prime minister to tell the world Cambodia will be mine-free in 2025,” he continued.

Takeo provincial governor Ouch Phea said at the ceremony that he supported the work and he expressed his deepest gratitude to Hun Sen for supercharging the mine clearance project by helping it obtain a large amount of funding and resources to reach the 2025 goal.

“We thank donors for donating their money to make Takeo the 11th mine-free [first-order administrative division] after Svay Rieng, Phnom Penh, Kep, Prey Veng, Kampong Chhnang, Stung Treng, Preah Sihanouk, Tbong Khmum, Kandal and Kampong Cham provinces,” he said.

He continued that Takeo province had finally completed its plans to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war that were first formulated in 1999, with the work ongoing until February, 2023.

He said that 73 mine fields were cleared that covered 4,675,797sqm of land, with 2,888 landmines, 61 anti-tank mines and 37,583 explosive remnants of war detected and destroyed during the demining operations.