Kampot proposes live fire grounds

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian military’s Golden Dragon exercise in Kampot province in March of 2019. Heng Chivoan

The Kampot Provincial Administration is preparing a proposal to the Ministry of National Defence through the Army Command to register nearly 30ha of land in Koh Touch commune’s Prek Ampil Village of Bokor town as a live fire training ground for the Kampot military operational sub-region.

Im Bonna, head of the inter-sectorial office of the provincial administration, told The Post on September 6 that after a meeting of the state land management committee last week, it was decided that a proposal would be sent to the ministry for appraisal before referral to Prime Minister Hun Sen for approval.

Bonna said he had also not received details concerning live fire training. But due to the location of the land, the provincial administration has a role in preparing the request to the ministry for registration as state land “Authorities will check the land first. If the work is completed this week, we will send the request. We are now preparing documents and there is a lot of work to complete. When the work is finished, we have to consult and revise the content before submitting the proposal to the ministry,” he said.

Bonna added that the location had no issues concerning land or people as the area was state forest land.

Hok Chanda, commander of the Kampot military operational sub-region, also told The Post on September 6 that the location was state forest land. He noted that it was previously owned by businessman Vinh Hour, who holds the honorific Oknha, but is now registered as state private land and allocated for the army.

He said the location was very important for the army to strengthen its capacity. Although Cambodia was at peace, military personnel still have to be trained in the use of weapons and need a place to practice.

“This location is the first one for the army in Kampot. Before, the army trained elsewhere, but now we can have our own location. In addition, army units next to Kampot, such as in Kep province, could also train here,” he said.

Provincial governor Cheav Tay, who also heads the state land management committee, said on September 6 that Chanda had requested 30ha to be registered as a live fire training ground for the military sub-region.

However, he said when the team inspected the land, it was only 24.33ha, as the remaining 5.67ha was a stream and adjacent path.

This location has a plain, plateau, stream, and has been cleared for construction, with surrounding areas being degraded forest land with good geography to be used as a live fire training ground.