Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday said his decision to remove a top military chief from his position Thursday was due to “land issues” and a dereliction of duties.
Gen. Ke Kim Yan “was conducting his own business” instead of performing his duties as commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, Hun Sen told a weekly Cabinet meeting.
Ke Kim Yan was backing the illegal purchase of land in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district, Kampot province’s Phnom Vor area and sites in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey and Stung Treng, Hun Sen said.
Ke Kim Yan could not be reached for comment Friday. He was removed from his post late Thursday by royal decree following the request of Hun Sen.
Replacing Ke Kim Yan is his deputy, Gen. Pol Saroeun. Also promoted to deputy commanders of RCAF by the royal decree are military intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Mol Roeup, military police commander Lt. Gen. Sao Sokha and the chief of Hun Sen's personal bodyguard unit, Lt. Gen. Hing Bun Heang, among others.
Pol Saroeun declined Friday to comment on the removal of Ke Kim Yan, saying it was an internal military matter.
It remained unclear Friday whether Ke Kim Yan would be given another command or remain in the army. Hun Sen told his Cabinet a new position had not yet been considered for the former chief.
The sacking comes as Cambodian continues a months-long military standoff with Thailand on the border of Preah Vihear province.
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya is scheduled for border talks with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, in Phnom Penh Sunday and Monday. Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the removal of Ke Kim Yan would not affect the talks.