Hun Sen Warns Commanders To Provide Accurate Battle Reports

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday warned RCAF commanders stationed on the Thai-Cambodian border that they will be punished if they provide him with false information about fighting between Thai and Cambodian soldiers.

Citing information given to him about brief episodes of fighting be­tween Thai and Cambodian soldiers at O’Smach in Oddar Mean­chey province on April 17, the premier said his sources had wrongly told him that Thai soldiers had been drunk and accidentally discharged their weapons, igniting the incident.

RCAF troops stationed at the O’Smach borderline reported en­gaging in two short but ferocious firefights on the morning of April 17, after what they described as an attempt by Thai troops to ambush their base. A Thai mortar shell fired into Cambodian territory landed approximately 100 meters from an O’Smach primary school.

Mr Hun Sen said RCAF Com­mander-in-Chief Pol Saroeun and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Chea Dara had provided him with different accounts of the incident.

“We had a problem April 17, and I asked the soldiers [about it on] April 19,” Mr Hun Sen said in a speech as he inaugurated a provincial government office building in Preah Vihear province yesterday.

“[RCAF officers] said the soldiers from the other side were drunk—it was beyond my belief. Next time you will be punished. When you report, don’t exaggerate or hide information,” he said.

“[They] said that they were very drunk, but they did not shoot into their land—they shot at Cambo­dian land…. This is an effort to hide the information that caused the [RCAF] leaders to falsely analyze and find out the real purpose” of the Thais’ actions, the premier said.

General Dara said yesterday that he would comply with Mr Hun Sen’s order.

“Samdech [Hun Sen’s] order is accurate, and I must comply,” Gen Dara said, before declining to ans­wer further questions.

General Saroeun is currently traveling in China and could not be reached for comment.

Mr Hun Sen also asked RCAF soldiers to protect forests and state land while they are stationed in Cambodia’s remote provinces.

“I would like you to guard the forest and state land,” he said. “I have dispatched you here to defend the territory, but it does not mean…you can [also] cut wood.”

“If you want land, you must work through the land law…. You can’t do it arbitrarily.”


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