Cambodia is set to dispatch troops to join a United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali on February 9, senior officials said on February 6.

Prak Sokhonn, Chairman of the National Coordination Committee of UN Peacekeeping Operation, said during a meeting with Cambodian peacekeepers that it is the first time that the country will send military personnel to Mali under the UN umbrella.

He said some 30 team leaders will leave for Mali on February 9 in order to manage tasks in advance.

According to Lt. Gen. Sem Sovanny, General Director of the National Centre for the Peacekeeping Force, a total of 298 troops will be sent to Mali later this month.

He added that they are divided into two groups. One will be responsible for airport repairs and maintenance and the other will be in charge of unexploded ordnance disposal.

Mali was plunged into turmoil after a March 2012 coup that led to an Islamic rebel takeover of large swathes of the West African country before France launched a military operation in January last year to oust them.

Cambodia first sent its troops abroad in April 2006. To date, it has sent about 1,800 peacekeepers to Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic and Lebanon. Most of them have ended their missions and returned home, except those in South Sudan and Lebanon.-VNA