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Three Cambodian peacekeepers injured in Mali mine explosion

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The three Cambodian peacekeepers sustained injuries during the course of their mission on November 20. SUPPLIED

Three Cambodian peacekeepers injured in Mali mine explosion

Prime Minister Hun Sen revealed that three Cambodian peacekeepers deployed to Mali on a UN mission were injured recently in a landmine explosion.

"In recent days, three of our soldiers were injured in Mali by landmines blocking a road which our troops were travelling on,” he said while addressing an event celebrating the 11th anniversary of Japanese firm Minbea (Cambodia) on December 1.

National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NPMEC) spokeswoman Kosal Malinda said the trio sustained injuries during the course of their mission on November 20.

She added that at first one of them was having difficulty with movement, but was then able to sit up and eat food normally a day or so later, and their condition has continued to improve since then. None of them have been permanently disabled or suffered life-threatening injuries.

"By the afternoon of December 1, their condition had improved greatly and all three have already been discharged from the hospital,” she said.

Malinda identified the three as armoured transport driver Corporal Penh Raksmey, medical specialist Lieutenant Colonel Mey Kimthong; and exploratory research specialist Lieutenant Colonel Men Thara.

The type of landmine they drove over was an anti-personnel mine and if they had stepped on it they would have been killed, Malinda said, noting that the armoured vehicle protected them from the blast.

According to Malinda, 144 Cambodian "blue helmet" were travelling from one region to another as part of their UN mission and were tasked with demining duties as part of their orders, though this detonation was accidental.

She said Cambodia also has an airport engineering team currently in Mali that is helping to clear out areas for the landing of UN helicopters and building camps for UN officials to use.

Cambodia's peacekeepers are currently on missions in four countries: Lebanon, South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali.

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