The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces plans to recruit 3,850 new soldiers, the majority of which will be enlisted in a new brigade established after a border row with Laos, a document obtained yesterday showed.
After a border row with Laos last month, which saw Prime Minister Hun Sen deploy troops to the Stung Treng provincial border before settling the dispute with his counterpart, Mr Hun Sen announced the creation of Brigade 128 in the province to bolster defences.
According to the document, signed August 24 and obtained yesterday, 2,900 of the new recruits will be enlisted in the new brigade.
The establishment of the new brigade followed the border row which was sparked by the discovery of Lao soldiers in Cambodian territory in the Ou Alai and Ou Ta Ngav areas in Sieng Pang district.
The remaining new recruits will be deployed to other units along the border with Laos and also Vietnam.
Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said yesterday that the recruitment drive is to replace retiring soldiers, fortifying the military with youthful soldiers capable of protecting the country from foreign invaders.
“This new military recruitment will be carried out on a voluntary basis at regional military recruitment commissions,” he said. “The recruits will be sent to the local army training school and serve after graduation.”
“We welcome young people of both sexes who wish to join the army,” he added. “They can submit the form through any military unit or division.”
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Cambodia, said the recruitment drive needs to be carried out without any traces of corruption or nepotism.
“The recruitment needs to be transparent, impartial, not corrupt and free of nepotism,” he said.
According to Global Fire Power, Cambodia’s military is ranked 89th among 133 countries in the world. This rating depends on the population and geography of each country.
The organisation found that Cambodia has nearly 200,000 military personnel, more than 100,000 active personnel and 70,000 reserve personnel.