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Body of Cambodian Blue Helmet Soldier Returned to Homeland

PHNOM PENH: The body of Cambodian Blue Helmet soldier and Deputy Commander of Airport Engineering Squadron 729, Phoeuk Chivoan, who died while deployed in Mali on a UN peacekeeping mission, was returned to Cambodia at around midnight on Tuesday, 28 February 2023.

A funeral service was held at Phnom Penh International Airport, which was attended by the Director General of the National Peacekeeping Center, Sem Sovanny, as well as the deceased's family members and relatives.

The service was held in both Buddhist and military traditions, featuring a military parade to honor the soldier’s bravery and duty to the motherland, as well as to the UN peacekeeping cause. The peacekeeper’s body was then sent to a house in Dangkor district, Phnom Penh, for a traditional funeral ceremony.

Director General Sem Sovanny expressed his deepest condolences to the family of Phoeuk Chivoan, who passed away while deployed in Mali on a humanitarian mission under the auspices of the United Nations.

The Deputy Commander of Airport Engineering Squadron 729 passed away on 9 February 2023 at a TOGO Level 2 Hospital due to a respiratory disease. His body was transported from the Kidal area on 13 February to Bamako, the capital of Mali.

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) venue in Bamako hosted a memorial service on 16 February for Cambodian and Sri Lankan Blue Helmet soldiers who had recently passed away, with the participation of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, other senior UN officials representing their respective countries in the mission area, as well as leaders of the Malian government.

As of 2023, 11 Cambodian Blue Helmet soldiers have died while on peacekeeping missions, and 15 others have been wounded while in various target areas. Between 2006 to 2023, Cambodia has sent more than 8,000 Blue Helmet soldiers on peacekeeping missions in nine countries: Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Cyprus, Syria, Mali and Yemen.

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