Changing of the Guard at Preah Vihear Temple

After months of directing military operations at Preah Vihear temple, RCAF Intervention Division’s Lieu­tenant General Srey Dek has been re­lieved by Lieutenant General Chap Pheakdei, commander of the elite 911 paratroop regiment, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.

“Srey Dek, Intervention RCAF commander, was replaced by Chap Pheakdei on Tuesday,” Defense Min­istry Secretary of State Neang Phat said.

The changing of commanders Tuesday coincided with a rotation of about 50 percent of the troops sta­tioned at the temple and nearby Trop Mountain, who were replaced by 911 regiment troops, said RCAF Military Region 4 Commander Lieu­tenant General Chea Morn.

Citing operational secrecy, Chea Morn declined to say how many soldiers had been taken from the frontline and sent for rest and training in Choam Ksan district about 30 km from the mountain-top Preah Vihear temple.

“They have to train at Choam Ksan district and relax. I know some of them were replaced by paratroopers, but I don’t know how many,” said Preah Vihear Pro­vince RCAF Commander Som Bopharoath.

Reached by phone Thurs­day, Srey Dek declined to give an opin­ion on being relieved of the tem­ple command, which he held since mid-July, other than to say that it was an order from his superiors.

Chap Pheakdei could not be contacted for comment.


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