With the support of the Malaysian Business Chamber of Cambodia (MBCC), one commune and three villages in Kong Pisei district of Kampong Speu province were declared mine-free on the morning of January 10, 2023.

Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), said that Stok commune and the three villages – Ang Dauntei, Trapeang Thmar and Roleang Teuk villages, in Srong commune – are now mine-free.

The ceremony to declare them mine-free was attended by Malaysian ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim, provincial governor Vei Samnang and MBCC president KM Tan.

“Through this support and collaboration, 299,255sqm of landmines – equivalent to five minefields – in Stok and Srong communes have been cleared using funds raised from a gala night party attended by Lieutenant General Hun Manet, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and Commander of the Royal Cambodian Army,” the senior minister said.

He said that during the operations run by the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC), which began in August last year, 17 anti-personnel mines and 32 explosive remnants of war (ERW) were found and destroyed.

Thuch emphasised that demining work is an important task and a priority. He noted that 2022 was a year which saw a lot of participation from the private sector, philanthropists and people who donated to the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action (STP-MA) to help the Kingdom realise its mine-free goal by 2025.

He said there are now just three years left to complete the demining work of all areas suspected of having mines, which is about 648sq km.

“The prime minister is very determined to clear all mines by 2025, so the whole mine sector and the whole mine community are working actively with our deminers,” he said.

On January 6 this year, Hun Sen issued an official letter on strengthening mine action management, urging local and international demining operators to cooperate with the Cambodian authorities. He also instructed the Cambodian authorities in charge of mine action and victim assistance to study how to clear the mine-affected areas in a safe, effective and efficient manner as quickly as possible.