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Indonesia to aid elite troops

I NDONESIA has stepped up its military aid program to Cambodia with new plans to train 200 soldiers from the RCAF elite Special Forces.

The soldiers will be sent to Indonesia in September on a 10-month tour of duty to be trained in advanced military tactics which will concentrate on teaching the men to operate effectively in difficult terrain.

RCAF officers feel that Indonesia, with jungle terrain similar to that in Cambodia, will provide an ideal training environment for their elite troops.

Colonel Jika Pagjrana, military attaché to the Indonesian Embassy, said: "We will only be training soldiers, this is our contribution to the ongoing re-organization of the Cambodian Royal Army.

"We have no intention to supply lethal aid to Cambodia. Our Foreign Minister has already stated this.

"Specialized training will depend entirely on the condition and ability of the Cambodian armed forces, it's up to their basic abilities, we cannot push them.

"We have a range of options open to them. Whether it's normal, regular or special training is up to their preparation."

The military attaché added: "This will be an ongoing thing, we will assess the results. Future aid will depend on the success of the training and our ability to provide further funding.

Col Pagjrana said the cost of the training program would be $3 million which would be met entirely by the Indonesian Government.

Cambodia's Special Forces were created after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1991 and comprise soldiers from the three factions in the government, said Colonel Kong Bun Thoeun, one of the officers in the battalion. It has 402 men and is headed by General Chap Tony.

Colonel Thoeun said: "We may eventually expand to accommodate a further 200 men [in the training program]. We made a proposal for the Indonesians to train us and are now in full training so we can send our men [to Indonesia] in September."

Training for the service is not quite the strenuous physical workout imagined by most people.

The preparation consists of warm-up exercises and six activities which include: a three km run, 12 chin-ups, 35 sit-ups, 35 push-ups, 35 knee bends and swimming.

The men say while they find the training tough, they are still enthusiastic to attend the sessions at the Olympic Stadium.

Sergeant Jim Jong, who has been in the Special Forces for three years, said: "I am very happy because the Royal Army will be an international army, like the Indonesians.

"I am very happy to be in the Special Forces. If I pass [the training] I will go to Indonesia, this will make my family very proud."

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