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Retirements shrink RCAF ranks

About 5,600 soldiers had retired from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces during 2011, and almost 5,000 were set to follow this year as part of a government effort to reform and improve its military, an official said yesterday.

In a statement to retired soldiers obtained by the Post yesterday, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defence Neang Phat said the 5,615 soldiers who retired last year included almost 300 generals, brigadier-generals, major-generals, commanders and captains.

Another 4,805 soldiers would retire this year, Neang Phat said in the statement.

“All of us have shown a willingness and loyalty to the government by participating in its reformation policy, which particularly applies to the RCAF,” he said.

Each soldier who retired would receive retirement pay in accordance with the national budget, Neang Phat said.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabil-itation would ensure their retirement payments were processed, he said.

Defence Minister Tea Banh temporarily suspended RCAF promotions last November because the ministry believed a gap had formed between some officers’ ranks and their knowledge and experience.

The number of officers being promoted to the rank of general had drastically increased, which compared to the flurry of promotions that followed the integration of combatant forces in 1993, Tea Banh said.

Last April, 47 brigadier (or one-star) generals were minted, seven were promoted to lieutenant-general (three-star) and 11 were upped to major-general (two-star).

Cambodia adopted the conscription law in 2006, which requires all Cambodian citizens aged 18 to 30 years to enter compulsory military service for18 months. However, the government had not been enforcing this in the past year, and the Ministry of Defence had recruited about 5,000 volunteers, a spokesman told the Post recently.

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