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Tea Banh leads war of words

May Titthara / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Sam Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Movement was threatened with destruction at the Defence Ministry’s annual meeting yesterday. Supplied

The Defence Minister has threatened to destroy Sam Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Movement if it attempts to cause trouble in the country, while the Cambodian Nationality Party has called on people not to join the “illegal” group.

General Tea Banh made the comments at the Defence Ministry’s annual meeting yesterday.

He vowed the government would safeguard Cambodia’s sovereignty and internal affairs, especially from interference from powerful countries.

He also said the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces were committed to safeguarding peace, territorial integrity, security, and preventing any colour revolution or attempt to overthrow the legitimate government.

“The CNRM is inciting violence in Cambodia, so we have to crackdown on them in advance,” he said. “All illegal acts must be eliminated, without exception.”

Defence Minister General Tea Banh. Supplied

General Sao Sokha, deputy RCAF commander in chief and commander of the military police, said Mr Rainsy’s movement was a “purely terrorist activity” and his officers would not allow the organisation to operate in the country.

“The military police is ready to get rid of the CNRM, which is an act of terrorism. We will protect the legitimate government, constitution and royalty, and will never allow those listening to foreigners to launch a colour revolution,” he said.

Former opposition leader Mr Rainsy, who lives in self-exile in France, tweeted that the CNRM would provide a new structure that nobody could harm or dissolve.

CNRM members include Mr Rainsy, his wife Saumura Tioulong, and two former deputy presidents of the CNRP, Eang Chhay Eang and Mu Sochua.

“We must launch the CNRM in order to give a new momentum to the CNRP and prepare for its final victory over dictatorship so as to rescue our nation,” Mr Rainsy posted on Facebook yesterday.

The Cambodian Nationality Party, which was given one of the former CNRP’s seats in the National Assembly when the opposition was dissolved, yesterday condemned the CNRM in a statement.

RCAF commander in chief General Sao Sokha. Supplied

“The outlawed rebel movement incited the armed forces, Cambodian citizens and former members of the CNRP to raise a rebellion against the legitimate government under the form of a colour revolution.

“We appeal to all armed forces and citizens not to join the illicit movement, which must be condemned. The public should cooperate with the government and firmly oppose illegal rebel movements to maintain peace, safeguard national sovereignty and protect democracy,” the statement said.

Justice Ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap posted on his Facebook page to say that only legitimate political activities were offered protection by the law.

“Participation in illegal movements and activities that contradict judicial decisions are punishable by criminal law,” he said.

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