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Troop move for celebration

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Members of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit march during anniversary celebrations in September 2016. Hong Menea

Troop move for celebration

National Military Police said on Wednesday that the mobilisation of its forces from Phnom Penh to Svay Rieng province from Thursday has nothing to do with the July 29 national elections and should not concern the people, a statement posted on its website said.

Its spokesman Eng Hy said the mobilisation of Military Police forces will begin at night and the gendarmes will not be armed.

“In the letter, I stated clearly that we will mobilise the forces to join the 25th anniversary of the Military Police.

“The forces have been permitted by the General Command of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces via a request from the Military Police to mobilise. The event has been celebrated annually,” Hy said.

He said because it feared the statement might alarm the public, the Military Police is broadcasting the information in advance and the troops will not be armed.

“We are mobilising at night to avoid worrying people. But nothing about this mobilisation is a threat,” he said.

The announcement on July 10 said the Military Police will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an event held in Svay Rieng town on July 14. It will be presided by Minister of Defence Tea Banh.

About 800 military police officers will gather at the Kambol Military Police School in Kandal province and the Phnom Reay Training Centre in the capital before setting off on Thursday evening to Svang Rieng. They will return on Saturday.

Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections executive director Sam Kuntheamy said the Military Police should not be mobilised during the campaign season.

“The public and the international community won’t see this force mobilisation as a good thing, despite the government’s good intentions. It will cause anxiety to the people and voters,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the National Police’s website announced that Stung Treng provincial police on Monday began anti-demonstration and anti-riot training.

Provincial police chief Mao Dara said police will deploy forces around the clock throughout the election season in an effort to maintain security and public order.

Ing Sokhun, the Kampot deputy provincial police chief, said his station also began training district police on similar security strategies. He said eight of the 120 participants in the drills were women.

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