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Peacekeepers’ Corpses Returned From Central Africa

Cambodian military police officers carry coffins of Cambodian soldiers killed in Africa during the returning ceremony at Phnom Penh International Airport, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, May 21, 2017. Tears were shed and the sounds of cries were heard from the families of four Cambodian soldiers who were killed by a Christian rebel group in the Central African Republic earlier this month as the bodies arrived home Sunday. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The peacekeepers who died during an ambush in the central African nation earlier this month were: Im Sam, Sieng Norin, Mom Tola and Mao Eng.

The corpses of four Cambodian peacekeepers who were killed during a United Nations mission in the Central African Republic have been returned to Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen chaired a reception ceremony for the four slain peacekeepers at Phnom Penh International Airport.

The peacekeepers were named as Im Sam, Sieng Norin, Mom Tola and Mao Eng. They died during an ambush in the central African nation earlier this month.

Sieng Sen, 75, the father of Lieutenant Norin, said he was heartbroken by the loss of his son.

“Everyone regrets the loss of a child,” he said.

Norin’s remains were cremated on Monday at Kraing Thnong pagoda in Sen Sok district at a ceremony attended by high-ranking military and government officials.

Sen told reporters at the ceremony that his son was employed to construct roads in the war-torn nation. He praised the Cambodian Red Cross for organizing the ceremony.

Major General Chhuon Sam Ath, deputy chef of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces' information unit, said Norin, 37, had joined the army in 2008 and begun peacekeeping missions in 2010. He had served in Lebanon and Mali before being reassigned to the Central African Republic.

“It is very sad and regretful that during a mission of peace ... Lieutenant Sieng Norin, along with other fighters, were attacked by guerrillas, who are war criminals,” he said.

Sem Sovanny, head of the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces, said in the past family members of those killed in action had received some $70,000 in compensation for their loss.