Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

Troops Withdrawn From Vietnam Border, No Drones Shot Down

The head of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit, Hing Bun Heang, was dispatched to the Cambodia-Vietnam border with 500 troops to shoot “drones” on June 28, 2023. (information Ministry’s Television of Kampuchea)
The head of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit, Hing Bun Heang, was dispatched to the Cambodia-Vietnam border with 500 troops to shoot “drones” on June 28, 2023. (information Ministry’s Television of Kampuchea)

Most of the troops sent to the eastern border with Vietnam to shoot down drones have since been withdrawn and that no drones were destroyed, military officials told CamboJA.

“Some forces are still stationed there, but the majority of forces have withdrawn [from the border],” RCAF deputy commander and joint chief of staff Ith Sarath told CamboJA on Wednesday. He hung up the phone, declining further comment.

“After the arrival of the bodyguard unit, no drones from any side have flown in to invade Cambodian’s territory,” High Command Headquarters Military spokesperson Thong Solimo said. 

“As the situation returned to normal, all forces of the bodyguard command withdrew [last week],” Solimo added.

Prime Minister Hun Sen had dispatched 500 troops to the border with Vietnam on June 27 to shoot down alleged “drones” —  the specific kind was never identified clearly —  which had been reportedly flying into Cambodian territory. By the next day, the number of soldiers had increased to 10,000, according to Hun Sen. 

Any military unit that could shoot down a drone would receive $200,000, Hun Sen stated.

He implied the drones may have connection to a group of terrorists which had attacked government offices in the Vietnamese province of Dak Lak, bordering Mondulkiri. He also invoked the group’s involvement with an unnamed opposition group — likely the CNRP.

Ratanakiri provincial governor Nhem Sam Oeun, said that the situation along with Vietnam is calmed and no drones fly to Cambodia’s territory anymore.

“There are no drones invading, and no drones [shoot down]” he said.

Troops had also reportedly been stationed at Mondulkiri and Kratie provinces. Mondulkiri provincial governor Thong Savun and Kratie governor Va Thorn could not be reached for comment.

Royal Cambodian Army spokesperson Mao Phalla declined to comment. Bodyguard Unit head Hing Bun Heang could not be reached for comment.

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