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The boys in blue down from Samlot to 'protect the country'

The boys in blue down from Samlot to 'protect the country'

THEY come from Samlot, from the former Khmer Rouge division 505. They have been in

Phnom Penh for three months attached to senior Funcinpec official Serey Kosal's security

force.

For the past week or two, the troops have been in charge of the security of the 'safe

house' where some Funcinpec MPs have gathered fearing CPP intimidation. They have

also been seen around Funcinpec headquarters and Prince Norodom Ranariddh's residence.

"If we do not come to protect the country who will protect it", said one

of the former KR soldiers, who was quite noticeable with a large earring in his left

ear.

"We will stay here as long as there is problem in the country."

The former KR said that he and his troops were involved in the fighting in Battambang

at the end of February, which led to the suspension of his current boss, Battambang

deputy governor Serey Kosal, and the CPP governor Ung Samy.

"Today it is the same. [In Battambang], they fought us first. They will do it

again here so we have to protect the other party," he said implicating CPP as

the provocateur.

The bodyguard did not want to be photographed, give his name or say how many former

KR came down from Samlot to serve in Phnom Penh. According to a cook who prepares

food in the safe house, there are about 20 of the former KR

At a Pen Sovann press conference last week, the bodyguards were deployed outside,

wearing denim shirts, jeans and baseball caps - all blue.

Asked why it was so, the bodyguard said that the group did not receive enough uniforms

for all of them, so someone went to buy all the same blue clothes in the market.

He says that he still has his KR uniform hidden on his cot under another military

uniform. He said that he would not wear it anymore and he proudly showed a picture

of himself on the beach in Sihanoukville with a B40 rocket launcher on his shoulder

- dressed in blue.

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