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Authorities prepare as Sam Rainsy’s planned return to Kingdom nears

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Security personnel patrol last year’s Water Festival in the capital. KT/Mai Vireak

As Sam Rainsy’s planned return to the Kingdom on November 9 draws near, Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday ordered provincial and municipal governors to be ready to arrest the former CNRP leader and his supporters.

Mr Rainsy’s planned return coincides with the Independence Day and Water Festival weekend and security personnel across the Kingdom have been put on alert over the past few weeks.

Mr Kheng, who has made the call before, renewed it yesterday in a statement issued to the governors.

“All provincial and municipal governors must be present in their jurisdictions from the beginning of November until Water Festival has ended,” he said. “You must manage officials stationed at Provincial, District and Commune Halls so they can monitor the situation and take necessary action.”

Banteay Meanchey provincial Governor Um Reatrey in a statement obtained by Khmer Times yesterday said his officials are to remain on duty until November 13. They are not allowed to take days off or go on overseas trips.

Mr Reatrey declined to elaborate on his statement yesterday.

Nguon Ratanak, Battambang provincial governor, yesterday said his officials have yet to receive Mr Kheng’s latest instructions but said he will ensure social order during the Water Festival and Independence Day weekend.

“It’s very normal for Interior Minister Sar Kheng to instruct us to prevent illegal activities and be aware of the opposition groups and their supporters,” Mr Ratanak said. “I will soon forward his words to provincial officials.”

Sok Lou, Kampong Thom provincial governor, said he has educated residents about how Mr Rainsy aims to overthrow the government, adding that his officials are ready to provide security during Water Festival.

“I have ordered police officials to take immediate action against Mr Rainsy and his accomplices if they are in the area,” Mr Lou said. “I have also educated people about the consequences of joining Mr Rainsy’s attempt in overthrowing the government.”

In a recent Facebook post, Mr Rainsy said he will secretly enter the Kingdom on November 9. He did not disclose the point of entry.

Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak yesterday said the government has the technology to find out the exact time and location of Mr Rainsy’s entry into the Kingdom.

“As long as opposition members use their phones to communicate with each other, we can know where [Sam Rainsy] is,” Gen Sopheak said. “Even if he returns on the 5th or 6th [of November]…we will know all of it. This is not difficult.”

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