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Five Senior Army Officials Resign Leadership Posts to Make Way for PM’s Son

FILE PHOTO - Lt. Gen. Hun Manet, son of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Army and commander of the National Counter Terror Special Force, walks through honorary guards as his arrives for presiding over a U.S.-backed peacekeeping exercise dubbed "Angkor Sentinel 2014" at the Cambodian tank command headquarters in Kampong Speu province, 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, April 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The decision was announced on the same day that Hun Manet was appointed as the commander of the army.

Five senior army officials have resigned from their leadership roles after their posts were granted to Hun Manet, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The five Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) officers -- General Srey Doek, General Keo Thy, Lieutenant General Prum Pheng, General Chap Pheakdey, and General Mao Sophan -- retained their positions as head of their respective units.

Chhum Socheat, a defense ministry spokesman, said the resignations were based on a new policy requiring military officers to hold only one position in the military.

“In the past, unit chiefs were on the RCAF joint general staff... Being aware of the difficulty of command, all the divisions have moved under the command of one commander so it is easy to control,” he said.

On September 6, Defense Minister Tea Banh issued a decree to transfer five divisions under the commanders -- Division 2; Division 3; Intervention Brigade 1; Paratrooper Brigade 911; and Brigade 70 -- to Manet’s control.

The decision was announced on the same day that Manet was appointed as the commander of the army.

The five senior military officers could not be reached for comment.

Meas Nee, a political analyst, questioned the way the resignations had been publicized.

“When resigning, it is different from an official resignation. Their resignations should be done individually and also confirm the reasons as well. But these resignations did not state that. So there is a question about whether the resignation was a voluntary decision or if there are other reasons for the resignations that we cannot say,” he said.

Manet is the eldest of three sons of the prime minister and is widely tipped as a successor to his father’s over 30-year rule of Cambodia.