Factions Tear Police, Army, Minister Says

Interior co-Minister Sar Kheng warned Monday of political splits in Cambodia’s army and police departments and said the divisions could “sink the nation.”

Speaking at the inauguration of an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Sar Kheng said he had received information that political factionalism was increasing in police and army units, according to the Eve­n­ing News, a Khmer-language newspaper.

He also asked the Phnom Penh municipality to crack down on the illegal arms market at Phsar Tuk Thla in Russei Keo district, which he said has seen an increase in business since the return of deposed first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh was announced.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Tuesday that Sar Kheng also brought up these concerns in a meeting with visiting former US congressman Ste­phen Solarz on Monday. “We must deal with this problem,” Khieu Sopheak said. “The army of the nation is not the army of political parties. We have had bad experiences with this in the past.”

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