Official Fired in Koh Kong

Koh Kong province’s top military official was removed from his post this week after the second incident of a plane hitting a land mine on the Koh Kong airport runway, provincial officials confirmed Tuesday.

Thmor Da, commander of military operations, was transferred Monday to Military Region 3 in Kompong Speu province because he failed to maintain tight security at the airport, provincial police chief Yem Pheung said. Deputy Commander Kann Nang will replace Thmor Da, he added.

“The airport is not safe for planes to land because the runway is surrounded by forest and it is worse than an oxcart road,” he said. “Security is not good there.”

Thmor Da was a Funcinpec member until last July’s factional fighting, when he joined the CPP, a human rights worker said.

A plane from Phnom Penh detonated the mine Friday while taxiing on the runway, the second such incident since December. Police have accused former first deputy governor Pal Sam of planting both mines last year when he temporarily joined Funcinpec resistance troops.

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