At least 50 opposition party youth members and supporters are asking for permission to join the US-led fight against Islamic State militants, a leading activist said yesterday.
In return, they hope the US will help them fight Vietnamese encroachment in Cambodia and take back the island of Koh Tral (or Phu Quoc) from Vietnam, said Soung Sophorn, 27, who was the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s sole candidate in Pailin province during last July’s national election.
“The youths who want to join [the fight against ISIS] have already prepared ourselves and this is our own choice,” he said yesterday, adding that the young nationalists want to represent Cambodia as part of the US-led international coalition.
“After eliminating ISIS rebels, I will ask the United States of America to eliminate Vietnamese rebels on Koh Tral too,” Sophorn said.
“We are already prepared to die together in fighting ISIS.”
Two other youth activists backed up Sophorn’s claims.
“When Khmer children finish [our] mission in helping the world, we will ask the world to help Cambodia back. We want the world to know our Khmer children’s heart,” said Neang Sokhun, 26, the CNRP youth treasurer in Chbar Ampov district.
Thirty-two-year-old activist Hang Sisovath said he was willing to depart at any time.
“We cannot avoid death, so we agree to die for our nation and for the world. I am already prepared – send me at any time, I will go,” he said.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann would not say whether the party supported the youth or not.
He said that the party supported activities that promoted “peace for the world”.
Public affairs head Mu Sochua said that the youth can “go on their own, it’s not the policy of the party”.
But government spokesman Phay Siphan said that Cambodians would not be allowed to go off and fight ISIS.
“The Constitution does not allow [Cambodians] to join [and fight] against anyone. Joining [a group] to oppose anyone is not the political platform of the Royal Government.”
It was reported last week that members of Dutch biker gangs had travelled to Iraq and joined Kurdish forces fighting ISIS.