Minister of National Defence Tea Banh affirmed that the situation on the Cambodia-Vietnam border remains calm. He hinted at a potential reduction of deployment, stating that forces might revert to their original units while maintaining a smaller contingent for ongoing surveillance.

Speaking to The Post on July 3, Tea Banh stressed that there were no more drone sightings for intelligence or terrorist activities. His comments followed nearly a week of troop deployments along the border, enacted on orders from Prime Minister Hun Sen after reportedly illicit drone activity.

“Cambodia has mobilised forces with modern weapons to deploy along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, particularly in Mondulkiri, Kratie and Ratanakkiri provinces because of leaking information about drone flights along the border into the Cambodian territory without clear source and identities. This move is necessary in defending the national sovereignty,” he explained.

Utilising “state-of-the-art” military equipment for air surveillance, the forces discovered no foreign drones, merely those operated by tourists and commercial aircraft.

“Of course, we have noticed nothing happened. The situation in these few days is normal after mobilising forces. We have seen only aircrafts for transporting passengers and business in the high-altitude airspace,” he noted.

Bodyguard members deployed to border areas in Ratanakkiri province on June 28. PM BODYGUARD UNIT

Despite the lack of concrete evidence, Tea Banh asserted that the forces will continue to monitor the border closely for any potential terrorist activities. He also revealed plans for specialist units to discuss their role and strategy in anti-terrorism and intelligence missions.

On June 29, Vong Pisen, commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), confirmed the absence of drone activity following an inspection of Military Region 1. He vowed that all forces were committed to preventing any acts of terrorism on Cambodian territory.

Mondulkiri provincial governor Thong Savon commended the efforts of all forces in protecting national security and territorial integrity during a meeting with military officers stationed at the Cambodia-Vietnam border. He urged all forces to uphold their health and discipline for absolute protection of the nation and the government.

On June 27, Hun Sen instructed the Prime Minister Bodyguard Unit under the command of General Hing Bun Heang to intensify surveillance and intercept any drones overflying. This directive specifically targeted forces in Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces, while Vietnam confirmed that the drones were not theirs.