SIEM REAP: First Vice President of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), Senior Minister Ly Thuch, said that "Demining work is unpredictable and everything can change in less than a second. [Deminers] could lose their lives, become disabled and lose their loved ones. And their loss is the result of decades of protracted war in Cambodia.”
This statement was made by the Senior Minister on behalf of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is also the Chairman of CMAA, and Bun Rany Hun Sen, President of the Cambodian Red Cross, while attending the funeral of the three deminers from Cambodian Self Help Demining (CSHD) who were killed by a landmine explosion during a mine clearance operation on Monday in Sen Techea Village in Preah Vihear Province. The deminers had been doing humanitarian mine clearance work for nearly 10 years since 2002.
The Senior Minister added that these three brave heroes, Sun Vong, Ma Simet and Mon Jork, had risked everything for many years to serve their country and their people. He said they sacrificed their lives to keep others safe, so let us all respect their lives and their sacrifices.
The Senior Minister expressed his deepest condolences for the loss of Cambodia's great hero and shared words on behalf of the Prime Minister regarding the loss of life and disability caused by landmines and unexploded ordnances. "The loss of life or disability of a single person due to landmines and explosive remnants of war is a tragedy for the whole nation,” he said.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Senior Minister further expressed his praise and appreciation of the brave heroism of all deminers who engage in the most risky and dangerous work under the hot sun and in the fields and forests, to ensure a sense of security for communities and the nation as a whole.
Continuing on behalf of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Senior Minister Ly Thuch called on all compatriots as well as deminers to remain vigilant against the dangers posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war, and also called on the Ministry of Mines, donor communities and development partners, to continue to work with the Royal Government to clear mines from Cambodian territory, to reduce hazards and participate in the development of Cambodia.
On behalf of the family of the deceased, the Senior Minister expressed his deepest gratitude to the President of the Cambodian Red Cross, Bun Rany Hun Sen, who always cares and sympathizes with the victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war, and always supports the group and families of the victims as well.
On behalf of the CMAA, as well as the family of the deceased, the Senior Minister expressed his deep gratitude to the Armed Forces in Preah Vihear Province, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Hun Manet, who immediately intervened at the scene.
Following the shocking news of the deaths, the aid community and Embassy Representatives in Cambodia have expressed their condolences to the mine authorities and the families of the victims.
Since 1997, a total of 154 deminers have been maimed or injured while conducting demining work, and 31 deminers have lost their lives.