Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that a Cambodian peacekeeper with the United Nations force in the Central African Republic was killed and three others are missing.
The soldiers were ambushed while on patrol in the war-torn country along with several Moroccan troops, he said.
“They were attacked by guerrilla forces. One Cambodian soldier was killed and three are missing in action,’ Hun Sen said.
The premier appealed to the United States to do all it can to ensure the missing soldiers were returned to their families and urged the body to satisfy any ransom demands made by the soldiers’ kidnappers.
Hun Sen said an operation was underway to locate the missing servicemen.
“As of now, the question is whether they are still alive and on the run ... or if they are captured as prisoners of war or hostages. If they are captured, for any exchanges, I request the U.S., which is responsible for this, to pay serious attention to save the lives of Cambodian soldiers as well as Moroccan solders,” he said.
He speculated that the attack was an attempt to free a number of militia fighters detained by the U.N. troops and suggested a prisoner exchange could take place.
He identified the soldier who was killed as Im Sam, a driver from Siem Reap.
Media reports on Tuesday suggested that Sam may have been beheaded by the attackers.
Pol Ham, vice president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party and former soldier, said: “The UN mission in Cambodia as peacekeeping forces – not fighting forces – still faced danger.”
Cambodia has sent more than 3,500 peacekeepers on U.N. missions in Africa and the Middle East over the past 10 years.