Military vehicle shipment arrives

A shipment of military vehicles arrived at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port yesterday, officials said. The consignment also included armored personnel carriers, according to media reports.

However RCAF and civilian officials said yesterday they could not provide details on the shipment of new materiel.

The delivery came after an announcement that Cambodia would receive more than 90 tanks and armored personnel carriers from Eastern Europe this week, with more to follow.

“I know tanks and equipment arrived to Cambodia,” Brigadier General Chao Phirun, director of equipment at the Defense Ministry, said yesterday. Brig Gen Phirun added that he knew no other details and referred questions to Defense Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Chhum Sucheat, who was unavailable.

Port Director-General Lou Kim Chhun also said he could not supply details about the shipment.

The Khmer-language newspaper Koh Santepheap Daily reported on its website yesterday that the shipment was made up of 96 military vehicles and had come from the Bulgarian port of Varna on the Black Sea.

“These brand new tanks and armored personnel carriers were imported from the Varna port of Bulgaria,” the newspaper reported, adding that the military vehicles were shipped on a vessel called the BCC Pacific of Antigua and Barbuda.

Koh Santepheap said the shipment was made up of 50 T-54 tanks, a model originally designed in the Soviet Union, and 46 armored personnel carriers.

Asked whether he could confirm that the shipment was from Bulgaria, Ivan Petkov, charge d’affaires of the Bulgarian Embassy, said he had no information.

“Unfortunately I can be of no help to you since I have no information that a shipment from my country has arrived in Cambodia,” Mr Petkov wrote in an e-mail reply.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Thursday that 94, rather than 96, tanks and armored personnel carriers would arrive this week from an Eastern European country with more to follow but said he could not provide more details. Mr Kuong said yesterday that he had no new information on the shipment.

     (Additional reporting by Kim Chan)


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