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TV station provides cover for troops

TV station provides cover for troops

CAMBODIA Television Network has received more than 200 tonnes of cement and thousands of dollars in donations to help construct bunkers for soldiers stationed along the border after launching a drive last month.

“We have received more than 200 tonnes of cement and US$4,000 for buying steel to build military bunkers along the border with Thailand,” CTN director Tok Kimsay said yesterday. “It is for the military’s safety, to protect our territory.”

CTN is collecting money and raw materials through a televised campaign that began on August 31 for the construction of bunkers along a 113-kilometre stretch of border primarily in Oddar Meanchey province.

The campaign is part of a controversial programme, the specifics of which were spelled out in a document signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen in February, that has private companies support the armed forces.

Although government officials have said the programme would emphasise humanitarian needs, Tok Kimsay has said he wants to provide support for troops in potential combat.

Yesterday, he said there had been “no problem” in procuring donations because of interest shown by Cambodians at home and abroad.

“We hope we will be successful in getting enough funds for these bunkers,” he said.

He previously estimated that 1,000 tonnes of concrete and 500 tonnes of steel would be necessary to complete the project.

Since border tension with Thailand began to rise in 2008, several local television stations have broadcast pleas for the public to donate food, clothing, medicine and other materials to help support border troops. CTN continues to make on-air appeals for donations, and regularly lists the names of those who have contributed to the campaign.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that construction of military infrastructure was a government responsibility. “It is the duty of the government and Ministry of Defence to build bunkers for the military, not private companies,” he said.

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