Some 5,000 security personnel were called to the headquarters of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit in Kandal province on Thursday, where the premier said they must protect Cambodia’s territorial integrity, according to a number of officials in attendance.
Amid efforts by the opposition CNRP to highlight Vietnamese incursions along Cambodia’s eastern border, Mr. Hun Sen reminded all wings of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, police and military police of their obligations in maintaining national sovereignty, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat.
“He explained that the border has been correctly demarcated through the ‘Bonne’ map and asked [those in attendance] to maintain good relations and cooperation with neighboring countries,” General Socheat said, referring to the French-drawn map whose use for border demarcation is mandated by the Constitution.
“He raised the role and obligations of the three armed forces [military, military police and police] in protecting our territorial integrity and security for our villagers.”
During an opposition-led trip to a disputed area in Svay Rieng province on Sunday, activists were blocked about a kilometer from the border by plainclothes Cambodian men wielding crude wooden clubs, reinforced by armed Cambodian soldiers. Police eventually allowed about 100 of the activists through the security lines to visit border post 203.
Nem Sowath, director-general of the Defense Ministry’s department of policy and foreign affairs, said that Mr. Hun Sen on Thursday urged the armed forces to reaffirm their commitment to protect against security threats.
“The work of soldiers is to protect the nation, security issues and protecting territorial integrity,” General Sowath said.
“Enemies come from the outside and we have to fight the enemies from the outside. And enemies from the inside we have to fight on the inside,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling CPP, said that there was no mention during Thursday’s meeting of the opposition CNRP or its 11 activists jailed on insurrection charges Tuesday.