The army is restructuring itself and replacing troops along the border as the standoff with Thailand over disputed territory on their shared border approaches its sixth month
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 08:12:58 -0800 (PST)
Army rotates troops along Thai border
Written by Thet Sambath
Friday, 12 December 2008
THE army is restructuring itself and replacing troops along the border
as the standoff with Thailand over disputed territory on their shared
border approaches its sixth month, the military said.
The newly-formed Third Division - inaugurated December 8 in a ceremony
presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in Choam Ksan district,
some 30 kilometres from Preah Vihear temple - will absorb soldiers
from piecemeal brigades and voluntary enlistees, military officials
The new division will operate in the border provinces of Preah Vihear
and Oddar Meanchey and will be led by Srey Doek, the high-ranking
military official stationed inside the Preah Vihear temple complex who
previously headed Brigade 12, military officials said.
The main brigades positioned along the border will also be replaced in
phased transition that will have some soldiers stay behind to orient
the newcomers to the precarious forests and cliffs of the border
landscape, according to Sao Socheat, deputy commander of Military
Worn-out troops relieved
"When the new soldiers know the layout of the land and master it, the
old soldiers can leave," said Sao Socheat.
An officer stationed at Preah Vihear temple who wished to remain
anonymous said soldiers there were feeling the ill effects of
prolonged exposure to the elements.
"Some are tired and have health problems from being in the forest on
the front line for more than three months straight. They need to take
a rest and recover," he said.
Since fighting between domestic political factions ended in 1998, the
army has dissolved divisions into smaller units.
Chea Saran, deputy commander of infantry for the Royal Cambodian Armed
Forces, said: "The changes are important for the defence of the
nation. Before, we had much less fighting so we demobilised soliders
and divisions were broken up. Now, we face problems with Thai
soldiers, so we have to reform the divisions."
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