Land Clearing Begins for New Military Compound: Officials

Authorities have started clearing land for a new military compound including a training center, living quarters for troops and their families, a hospital and a market in Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district, officials said Monday.

The project was initiated by the Council of Ministers and primarily funded through donations from the private sector and citizens, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said by telephone from Preah Vihear, adding that some of the money comes from the national budget.

So far the government has collected more than $1 million for the first stage of the construction, he said, though he didn’t know how much the total cost would be.

“We need a military compound to support the military operations in this area,” Phay Siphan said, adding that the donations received for the project would first go toward im­proving roads in the area and to supporting soldiers at the border.

The new compound, which is about 40 km from Preah Vihear temple and 60 km from the provincial capital of Tbeng Meanchey, will be used by RCAF Division 3 troops currently stationed near the border, and will hopefully be finished by the end of 2009, Deputy Provincial Governor Sar Thavy said.

The compound will contain as many as 22 buildings with the cap­acity to house 10,000 soldiers, pro­vincial RCAF commander Som Bopharoath said.

It will be a training center where troops can train in the use of tanks and other weapons, he said.

“I know this will be the second biggest new military [compound] in Cambodia after the Division 2 compound in Siem Reap,” Som Boph­a­roath said.

     (Additional reporting by Cajsa Collin)

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