A total of 1,366 former militia members have received medals one year after they were demobilized, said a top Takeo province official.
The former soldiers are being honored for serving in the People’s Republic of Kampuchea provincial militias, which were in charge of security in villages and communes.
They also were honored for fighting the Khmer Rouge during the 20-year civil war, said Kep Chuktema, governor of Takeo province.
“We have bestowed this award on them. We need to encourage them,” Kep Chuktema said. “I hope our officials will give medals to honor all the militiamen of all 10 districts in Takeo province.”
The provincial militias were formed after the Pol Pot regime collapsed in 1979, when the People’s Republic of Kampuchea took charge of Cambodia. The militias have long been controversial. Perceived as being strong CPP supporters, they have been accused by Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party members of intimidating villagers during election campaigns.
In December 2000, some 30,000 militia nationwide were transferred from the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of Interior. The transfer was made to help RCAF reach its goal for demobilization.
The move to demobilize the militia was started last year. Unlike demobilized soldiers, who will receive $243 plus rice and household goods, the former militia receive only the medals. When the militiamen worked for the Defense Ministry, they earned $2.80 per month.
In Bati district, 280 militia received medals. Militia in Koh Andet, Prey Kabbas and Donkeo districts received a total of 280 medals.