Interior Minister Promises To Pay Militia

Minister of the Interior Sar Kheng is promising 30,000 militia transferred from the Ministry of Defense that they will receive all the wages owed to them before the end of December.

After the payment, all but 5,000 militia will have been demobilized. Hul Sukda, deputy director of the central department for the Minis­try of Interior, said militia demobilization will start this week and will be finished by the end of January.

The militia have not been paid since their transfer last January.  The transfers were made to help RCAF reach its goals for demobilization of the armed forces.

When the militia worked for the Defense Ministry, they each earned about $2.80 a month. The pay owed to them is about $33.60.

The militia have long been controversial. Perceived as being strong supporters of the CPP, they were often accused by Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party members of intimidating villagers during election campaigns.

Hul Sukda admitted opposition party criticism was one factor in the decision to demobilize the militia. But he said budget savings and better control over ammunition stocks were bigger factors.

Hul Sukda said only 5,000 militia will be kept on the pay­­roll, and they will stay in communes near the borders as security troops. All other militia will be demobilized.

They will not receive a demobilization compensation package; only a medal valued at slightly more than $20. Demobilized RCAF soldiers each receive $243, plus rice and household goods.



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