Widow of UN Peacekeeper Who Died of Malaria Gets $70K

The widow of a U.N. peacekeeper from Cambodia who died of complications after contracting malaria in January received $70,000 in compensation from the U.N. on Wednesday.

Luy Bunlong, a construction operator with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, was stationed in Central African Republic (CAR), where four fellow U.N. peacekeepers from Cambodia were killed during a May 8 ambush by armed guerrillas.

Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn speaks to the family of Luy Bunlong, a UN peacekeeper who died in Rwanda in January, during a ceremony Wednesday in Phnom Penh. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The peacekeeper was taken to Rwanda for malaria treatment, but died shortly afterward.

At a ceremony on Wednesday in Phnom Penh, Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn handed an envelope to Luy Bunlong’s widow, Soung Sonoeun, and reminded Cambodian peacekeepers to remain “cautious” when on their missions.

“We all know clearly that the mission we are fulfilling is so risky and dangerous,” Mr. Sokhonn said.

Luy Bunlong’s widow—who may receive more money for funeral expenses—thanked the government for helping her secure the compensation.

It proves “their commitment and attention to urge the U.N. to pay compensation for families of the military who have sacrificed their lives under the U.N.’s mission,” she said.

It is the second time compensation has been given to the family of a Cambodian peacekeeper who died while away on a mission.

The family of Chan Somkum, who died in a sandstorm in Mali in 2014, received $75,000 from the U.N.

Not all relatives who lose family members on a U.N. mission would receive money, Mr. Sokhonn said.

The families of some of the nine Cambodian peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 2006 had not met the U.N.’s criteria for compensation, he added, without going into details.

The bodies of the four peacekeepers gunned down in southeast CAR last month were returned to Cambodia a few weeks later.

General Sem Sovanny, the director-general of the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces, said officials were seeking compensation for the men’s families.

A total of 816 Cambodian peacekeepers, including 56 women, are currently carrying out missions in Sudan, South Sudan, Lebanon, CAR and Mali, according to Mr. Sokhonn.

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