Security at the French Embassy in Phnom Penh has been heightened in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed 17 victims last week, Cambodian officials and an embassy spokesman said Friday.
Deputy Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said that City Hall on Friday deployed municipal security guards to patrol the exterior of the French Embassy on Monivong Boulevard at the embassy’s request. He said Cambodian authorities were also taking additional measures to ensure the safety of all French nationals in the country.
“We ordered our forces to protect the French Embassy to avoid anything bad happening there…but we are not just focusing on the embassy, we are trying to protect all French people,” Mr. Sreng said, declining to provide further details of the operation.
On January 7, two Muslim extremists armed with assault rifles stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper that had published images of the Prophet Muhammed, and shot dead 12 people, including cartoonists and journalists. Two days later, a gunman with links to the Charlie Hebdo shooters killed four people at a kosher grocery store. A police officer was shot dead in a third attack.
Despite the extra security measures, Mr. Sreng said it was unlikely that Cambodia would be the target of similar attacks.
“We cannot say for sure whether our country will experience something similar, but we have to protect the people, even though the situation in Paris is stable,” he said. “We have stability here, so I don’t think [an attack] will happen.”
Nicolas Baudouin, spokesman for the French Embassy, confirmed that municipal security guards had been stationed outside the embassy.
“Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, all French Embassies and Consulates overseas have been instructed by Paris to request a reinforcement of the security presence around their premises,” Mr. Baudouin said in an email.
“This reinforcement also covers other French public establishments in Cambodia,” he added.