UN peacekeeping force shuttles off to South Sudan

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Cambodian UN peacekeepers departed on Sunday for humanitarian missions in South Sudan. NPMEC-ERW

Cambodian UN peacekeepers departed on Sunday for humanitarian missions in South Sudan.

The 73 soldiers will join other peacekeeping forces under the UN umbrella, according to Kosal Malinda, spokeswoman for the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC-ERW).

Malinda told The Post that the peacekeepers, 28 of whom are women, are taking over for another Cambodian unit that completed its mission and is returning home.

“They will be subject to the same measures as previous troops returning from Mali. They will immediately be tested for Covid-19 as soon as they arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport by the Ministry of Health.

They will then be sent for 14 days quarantine at the Institute for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance in [Kampong Speu province’s] Oudong district,” she said.

Malinda said the troops will be allowed to return home after 14 days if their last Covid-19 test is negative.

As the new forces departed Phnom Penh International Airport on October 25, Sem Sovanny, director-general of the institute, said although the world is facing a crisis, Cambodia has not hesitated to send its forces to join the UN peacekeeping missions.

Sovanny reminded the soldiers conducting humanitarian missions abroad to take care of their health and follow the advices of the health ministry, Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of National Defence, and UN officials in the mission area.

Cambodia has sent more than 7,100 troops on UN missions since 2006 and is the second-largest ASEAN contributor to peacekeeping efforts. The country currently has troops operating in Lebanon, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.