Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Troops on Laos border undertake live-fire drill

Troops on Laos border undertake live-fire drill

Soldiers from Brigade 128 examine mortar tubes late last year. Yesterday the brigade conducted a live mortar exercise near Laos. Facebook
Soldiers from Brigade 128 examine mortar tubes late last year. Yesterday the brigade conducted a live mortar exercise near Laos. Facebook

Troops on Laos border undertake live-fire drill

A new Cambodian infantry brigade undertook live-fire weapons training just south of the border with Laos yesterday, six months after Prime Minister Hun Sen dispatched troops to the border amid tensions.

Infantry Brigade 128, created last August shortly after border friction with Laos, used live mortars in a training designed to improve skills and to “get to know the location in order to defend our country and our territorial integrity”, said Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat.

“We also informed the Laos side before the live ammunition exercise,” he said. “We have solidarity with each other . . . and we have never had any problems.”

However, last February Laotian troops crossed the Sekong River to prevent Cambodian military engineers from building a road. In August, Hun Sen sent troops to the border and gave Laos an ultimatum to withdraw their men within six days or risk consequences.

Yesterday’s exercises took place in a contested area, known as O’Alay, in Stung Treng.

Paul Chambers, of Naresuan University in Thailand, said the mortar exercises were no doubt about “getting Cambodians to rally around the flag and the [ruling Cambodian People’s Party] as the general election in Cambodia approaches”.

“The border dispute with Laos is puny compared to that with Thailand and Vietnam. However, the fact that Laos has the smallest army in Southeast Asia makes it smart politics to use Laos as the convenient punching bag with the least likely consequences for Hun Sen.”

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

MOST VIEWED

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police