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Stung Treng border brigade unveiled

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Defence Minister General Tea Banh. Supplied

The government on Saturday inaugurated a new Royal Cambodian Armed Forces brigade to serve a disputed part of the Cambodia-Laos border.

Defence Minister General Tea Banh presided over a ceremony to mark the establishment of infantry brigade 128, which comes under the control of RCAF’s Region 1.

Gen Banh told local media that duties on troops in the area had increased, which made it necessary to expand forces there.

He said the new brigade in Stung Treng province would defend national sovereignty and boost relations with Laos.

Defence Ministry spokesman General Chhum Sucheat said the area, which includes a 400-kilometre stretch of the border, was underserved by forces in the past.

“Infantry brigade 128 will have more than 3,000 personnel including new recruits and experienced troops,” he said. “We will construct many roads in the area and there will be a village for civilians, too.”

The creation of the brigade follows a border dispute with Laos in August.

Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered thousands of troops to be deployed during the incident on August 11, while giving an ultimatum to Laos to withdraw its forces from Cambodian territory within six days.

One day later, Mr Hun Sen flew to Vientiane to talk with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. After their talks, Laos agreed to withdraw its troops the following day.

Tensions between the two countries had been rumbling on since February, when Lao soldiers moved into Cambodian territory in Siem Pang district, in protest against Cambodia’s plan to construct a road along the border.

Stung Treng provincial hall spokesman Men Kong said the brigade will help end border disputes.

“The public and the armed forces are happy about the new brigade,” he said. “Now we are waiting for border demarcation.”

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