Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Troop redeployment routine, says Defence Ministry

Troop redeployment routine, says Defence Ministry

An image circulating on social media earlier this week that claims to show armed forces troop transport trucks travelling along a road near the outskirts of Phnom Penh. SBN
An image circulating on social media earlier this week that claims to show armed forces troop transport trucks travelling along a road near the outskirts of Phnom Penh. SBN

Troop redeployment routine, says Defence Ministry

Another convoy of military vehicles has been filmed on Cambodia’s roads but, despite the heightened political tension, a Defence Ministry spokesman characterised it as regular troop rotation.

Uploaded yesterday morning to social media, the video appeared to show at least 20 troop-carrying trucks headed north, away from Phnom Penh, on National Road 6 in Kampong Cham province.

It follows the circulation of several videos, beginning early last week, of military vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers and tanks being transported to the capital.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat confirmed on Monday that “all tanks” from the border in Preah Vihear province had been recalled to bases around Phnom Penh for repairs. Socheat also confirmed the troops stationed at the border province, including members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit, had been recalled, but denied the movements were connected to recent domestic political developments, saying they were a response to improved relations with Thailand.

Reached yesterday, Socheat said the newest convoy was a part of a troop rotation, which he said usually occurred once every three months, though sometimes longer if frontline troops’ health permitted.

It was not related to “security issues”, he reiterated.

“We’re moving the back force to the front while moving the front forces back, because our forces that were long stationed [on the border] had become weak,” Socheat said, adding the men would receive training at their headquarters.

“This is normal; every country is like this.”

However, a diplomatic source, regularly briefed on military affairs, yesterday said the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces rarely rotated troops.

“They do not conduct regular troop rotations,” the source said, adding that a bolstered military presence could be either to control potential demonstrations or dissuade them from occurring at all.

As the political situation has deteriorated over the past year, several high-ranking generals, including Defence Minister Tea Banh, have given speeches characterising the opposition as a threat to stability.

Its leaders besieged by legal cases widely considered politically motivated, the Cambodia National Rescue Party has threatened mass demonstrations if authorities detain their acting president Kem Sokha, who has been holed up in the party’s headquarters since late May.

CNRP spokesman Eng Chhay Eang said the party did not believe the Defence Ministry’s explanation about the recent boost in military presence around Cambodia, though added he would “wait and see” if the equipment and personnel were used correctly. “We’re supportive if the forces are used to defend territory and the people’s harmony; but if it’s used to intimidate and threaten, we do not support.”

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • NagaWorld protest part of ‘conspiracy’

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court and police held a joint-press conference on January 4 to clarify details concerning the arrest of nine former employees of the integrated resort NagaWorld and the charges brought against them, saying that the authorities had clear grounds for taking legal action.