A band of guerrilla fighters under the command of resistance generals Nhiek Bun Chhay and Khann Savoeun defected to the government last week in the coastal province of Koh Kong, according to the chief of national intelligence.
General Mol Roeup, also a military adviser to Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, said Sunday that 85 resistance soldiers, along with a large amount of weapons, defected to the RCAF on Thursday. The defections, he said, came after nearly six months of intelligence investigations into the battalions.
Mol Roeup said the 85 new defectors were acting as spies, using their contacts in the navy and army to collect information for resistance leaders in the northwest.
“They came out and admitted they are sick of the meaningless life in the jungle with [Nhiek] Bun Chhay,” Mol Roeup said.
The soldiers had belonged to two battalions made up of nearly 300 resistance soldiers operating along the coast of Koh Kong, he said. The rest of their battalions had already defected to the government in May.
Koh Kong governor Rong Plamkesan confirmed last week’s defections, saying the group was believed responsible for numerous robberies and attacks on villages.
The soldiers will be reintegrated into the RCAF with the same ranks as they held before the July factional fighting, Mol Roeup said.