29 December 2011 – To boost anti-landmine efforts in South Sudan, the outgoing UNMISS Cambodian Military Demining Platoon today handed over 15 tonnes of explosives and equipment to the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) in Malakal, Upper Nile State.
The departing Cambodian demining contingent came to South Sudan after the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. They have conducted demining operations in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.
The Cambodian Government donated these items valued at $120,000 to support future demining efforts in the world’s newest state of South Sudan, said Major Kham Sereyith of the Cambodian Military Demining Platoon.
“We have a lot of potentially contaminated areas,” said Maj. Sereyith. “These areas inhabitants need to live in.”
According to the Cambodian officer, large areas in this region are still contaminated because of the civil war in Sudan that officially ended seven years ago.
“It will take some years to fully clear these areas,” Maj. Sereyith said. “We are still ready to offer our expertise in this field if called upon.”
Zachariah Monyjiek Kiir of the South Sudan Demining Authority for Greater Upper Nile States estimated that nearly 80 per cent of the mines laid during the war have been cleared.
However, the recent laying of new mines by rebel militia groups operating in the region posed new threats to residents.
Mr. Kiir said that although people could move freely due to ongoing demining efforts, unexploded ordnance remained a menace in the region.
In November 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became the 158th nation to ratify the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and sale of anti-personnel mines.