Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Huge new brigade getting extra funds

Huge new brigade getting extra funds

Navy officials eat lunch after a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen in August, where the formation of Brigade 128 was announced.
Navy officials eat lunch after a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen in August, where the formation of Brigade 128 was announced. Facebook

Huge new brigade getting extra funds

The Cambodian government has diverted around $1 million in funding from the national budget to a new military unit that will be at least twice the size of a usual brigade – and possibly larger, officials said.

The government decree, signed November 6 but obtained yesterday, orders that 4 billion riel be diverted to Brigade 128, a new unit ostensibly created to patrol the border in Laos. According to the decree, the money will be “for purchasing the materials supporting the troops and offering the money to the troops”.

The brigade was previously lectured by Defence Minister Tea Banh on the importance of cracking down on “colour revolutions”, and when it was created, leader Meach Samut pledged his loyalty to Hun Sen and vowed to combat any individual or group that attempted to overthrow the government.

The unit, stationed in Stung Treng, was created in the aftermath of a border dispute with Laos, and currently boasts over 3,000 troops, almost double the size of a normal brigade.

But Banh’s rhetoric led Southeast Asia expert Paul Chambers to speculate in an email that the brigade “could become a new personalized device of military loyalty to Hun Sen”.

Chum Socheat, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said the brigade might number almost 10,000 in the end. Asked if the unit would be used to crack down on protesters, he would only say “the army listens to the government’s orders”.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all