Cambodia Opposition to Pay Would-Be Armed Forces Defectors Ahead of Sam Rainsy Return

Cambodia’s banned opposition party has earmarked a budget to support members of the armed forces who defect from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s regime and offer protection to its acting president Sam Rainsy when he returns to the country from self-imposed exile in November, a party official said Monday.

The budget, which remains undisclosed, was approved at the end of a Sept. 14-15 meeting of the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) permanent committee in Lowell, Massachusetts, along with strategies to arrange travel by Sam Rainsy and other party brass to Asia on Nov. 5, and appeal to Cambodian migrant workers to accompany them back home four days later, the CNRP said in a statement.

Speaking to RFA’s Khmer Service on Monday, CNRP Vice President Eng Chhay Eang defended the decision to fund defectors from Cambodia’s armed forces, saying the money would be used to “support their livelihoods,” but not to promote violence or purchase weapons.

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