World Bulletin/News Desk
The head of Cambodia’s paramilitary police has drawn condemnation after saying he is inspired by Adolf Hitler, local media reported Friday.
General Sao Sokha, who commands the Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia, told officers at their headquarters in Phnom Penh that he “learned from Hitler” in his approach to policing, the Cambodia Daily said.
“Speaking frankly, I learned from Hitler,” Sokha was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Germany, after World War I, was not allowed by the international community to have more than 100,000 soldiers but the Nazis and Hitler did whatever so they could wage World War II.”
Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, told The Anadolu Agency Friday that she was “shocked and appalled by such comments from someone who is in charge of the military police.”
She said his remarks could explain recent incidents of apparent police misconduct for which no officer has been held accountable.
The past two years have been some of the bloodiest in Cambodian post-Khmer Rouge era with seven civilians shot dead by security forces in late 2013 and early 2014. No credible investigation has been carried out into the shootings.
“We have been wondering why the [ruling] CPP [Cambodian People’s Party] leaders have not taken any action to try and reform the military, especially the way they handled protesters or people who oppose them,” Sochua said. “Now we totally understand why.
“I think that Mr Sao Sokha should be called by the Ministry of Defense and by the prime minister to ask him to retract what he said.
She added: “If what he says is that he is inspired by Hitler, how could it be that he could… be inspired by someone who has committed crimes against humanity?”
According to the Daily, Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong told the same gathering on Thursday how he conspired with Sokha and the head of National Police Neth Savoeun in January 2014 to suppress street protests led by “the enemy – in other words, the opposition party.”
Referring to the Cambodia National Rescue Party protests, Sokha said: “Their tricks were to push Cambodia into turmoil and to destroy the election results and to bring change.”
In late 2013, daily opposition demonstrations calling for Prime Minister Hun Sen to step down were joined by striking garment workers. On Jan. 3, military police killed five workers and wounded more than 40 when they opened fire in Phnom Penh.
Gendarmerie spokesman Brigadier General Kheng Tito could not be reached for comment but Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan suggested Sokha’s comments had been taken out of context.
Siphan told AA that Sokha “understands well about the violent era of the Pol Pot regime,” when an estimated 1.4 million people perished under the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979.
He added: “He is not a person inspired by Hitler. I think all Cambodian government members in high positions are never inspired by Hitler. If we said that, it would be like [endorsing] the Pol Pot regime. We are against the Pol Pot regime and violence against humanity.”
Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Ocak 2015, 15:42