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New counter-terror troops on way

A Cambodian anti-terrorism unit stands guard during an air crash drill during a full scale airport emergency exercise in 2010 at Phnom Penh’s Military Air Force Base. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP
A Cambodian anti-terrorism unit stands guard during an air crash drill during a full scale airport emergency exercise in 2010 at Phnom Penh’s Military Air Force Base. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP

New counter-terror troops on way

The Ministry of Defence’s counter-terrorism force, headed by the prime minister’s eldest son, Hun Manet, will get an injection of several dozen new troops, according to a decree signed last month by the premier.

The document, which Hun Sen signed on July 8 and which has circulated in local media, said the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) would supply the unit with 100 personnel.

“The government has decided to allow the Ministry of Defence to recruit 100 soldiers to fulfil duties under the framework of the counter-terrorism department,” it noted. “The ministers in charge of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the commander of RCAF must implement this decision from the signing date.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Manet, a lieutenant general who was educated at the prestigious West Point military academy in the United States, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday, after his assistant promised to pass on a message.

The news comes amid a recruitment push by the military – which saw at least 700 applicants sign up in March – and a further increase in the number of generals: the armed forces last month promoted 120 officers to the rank of brigadier general, and awarded stars to another 89 generals.

It also comes as US soldiers and their Cambodian counterparts began the second day of the annual Angkor Sentinel joint-military exercises in Kampong Speu province.

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