RCAF Deputy Denies Plan To Cut 40,000 Soldiers

RCAF Commander-in-Chief Ke Kim Yan said that the Cambodian mi­litary plans to shed 40,000 soldiers, reducing troop strength to around 70,000, Chinese state-run me­dia reported Monday.

The Xinhua news agency re­ported that Ke Kim Yan made the mas­sive troop reduction plan known to Liang Guanglie, the Chi­nese military’s chief of general staff, who arrived in Phnom Penh Sa­turday and departed Tuesday.

However Pol Saroeun, RCAF de­pu­ty commander-in-chief, said by tele­phone Tuesday that the report was wrong.

Pol Saroeun said that he did not know what Ke Kim Yan said to the Chi­­nese military chief, but insisted that the report of 40,000 soldiers los­ing their jobs was wrong.

“It is not true,” Pol Saroeun said.

Pol Saroeun added that he could not reveal the exact number of troops the government plans to de­mobilize, stating that such information was “secret work.” He declined further comment.

Defense Minister Tea Banh said by telephone that all questions should be directed to Ke Kim Yan, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann, chair­man of the National As­sembly com­mission dealing with na­tional de­fense, said that Defense Mi­nistry Secretary of State Hak Savuth had told him about the troop reduction in early Sept­ember.

“The deputy minister told me that the government had decided to demobilize 40,000 soldiers,” Yim Sovann said.

The majority of those being re­moved from the books were those that had already died, were too old for service or had received injuries that kept them from duty, he said.

The demobilization would take place over the next two years, he added.

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