Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered troops stationed along the border with Vietnam to start “shooting down” unidentified drones flying into Cambodia’s territory, in a Tuesday Facebook Live post.
“We have to use our modern weapons to shoot down any drones which fly into Cambodia’s territory,” Hun Sen said. “At least have 100 weapons to shoot down these drones, take as many [weapons] as possible.”
Hun Sen ordered Defense minister Tea Banh, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) Vong Pisen and Hing Bun Heang, commander of his personal bodyguard unit, to “ready weapons for firing” into the areas where drones were allegedly flown into Cambodia’s land.
“Please immediately send out forces in order to implement urgent measures in protecting against invasion or intelligence from unidentified drones,” Hun Sen said.
None of the commanders or their spokespersons could be reached for comment.
Hun Sen ordered Hing Bunheang to dispatch 500 troops, including counter-terrorism forces, along the border with Vietnam in northeastern Ratanakiri province.
Ratanakiri provincial governor Nhem Sam Oeun said that drones had flown into the area of Ratanakiri in the past week following an alleged terrorist attack in Vietnam.
“As of now, there have been four times drones flew along the border line [Ratanakiri]” Sam Oeun told CamboJA. “Drones have flown at night into white zone along the border, when we shot, it had fled away.”
The Vietnamese state-run newspaper VnExpress reported that 84 suspects were arrested for their involvement in deadly attacks on People’s Committee offices in Vietnam’s Dak Lak province along the border with Mondulkiri.
Hun Sen said Cambodia had asked Vietnam if the rogue drones belonged to them. The Vietnamese said no.
“I can assume that a large number of drones belong to an enemy which carried out the attack in Vietnam’s territory, and now there is sign that some are fleeing into Cambodia as terrorists,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen added that Cambodia has cooperated with Vietnam to prevent the group of assailants from attempting to cross border areas of Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri and Kratie provinces since the attacks.
Mondulkiri and Kratie provincial governors Thorng Savun and Var Thorn declined to comment.