The remains of Major Phoeuk Chivoan, deputy commander of Airport Engineering Squadron 729, were on March 1 prepared for traditional funeral rites by his families and leaders of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC) in Trapeang Samreth village of Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, after repatriation from Mali on the night of February 28.

According to the NPMEC, Chivoan was on a peacekeeping mission in the war-torn nation under the UN umbrella in the Tesalit region in Bamako, since December, 2022. He passed away on February 9 at the age of 42 due to a respiratory condition.

On February 13, his body was transported to Bamako’s Minusma city where a funeral ceremony was held on February 16 with the participation of the UN representative, commanders of peacekeeping forces from other nations and leaders of the Malian government.

NPMEC spokeswoman Kosal Malinda, who paid her last respects to the deceased and offered her condolences to his family on the morning of March 1, told The Post that Chivoan's death was the loss of an outstanding soldier of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

"Chivoan's heroism is invaluable, both nationally and internationally. His death is the loss of one of the RCAF’s most outstanding human resources," she said.

Seng Phengserey, commander of Airport Engineering Squadron 729 who remains on the peacekeeping mission in Mali, also wrote a condolence message to the family of the late Chivoan.

"The loss of Major Phoeuk Chivoan is the loss of a good husband, a good father and the loss of a great human resource for the RCAF. Lieutenant Colonel Chivoan is a heroic example of an international peacekeeper and an invaluable sacrifice for the motherland," he said.

Chivoan's body was cremated on the night of March 1, with the participation of leaders of NPMEC and senior officials from the Ministry of National Defence, according to Chivoan’s wife Vong Srey Touch.

Although she is now a widow with two young children in her care, she says she is proud of her husband for going on the peacekeeping mission to Mali and for serving in the RCAF.

"I will take good care of my two children and have a strong sense of responsibility for my motherland like my husband,” she said.

Malinda told The Post that representatives of the Cambodian "blue helmets" have been working with the UN representatives in the mission region.

According to Malinda, since 2006 a total of 11 Cambodian soldiers on peacekeeping missions have passed away while on duty and another 15 were injured during their missions.