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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bomb clues proving elusive

Bomb clues proving elusive

T HE police have not made much progress in their investigation into the grenade attacks

on the eve of Son Sann's congress, according to co-Minister of Interior You Hockry.

"We have no clues," Hockry said this week. "Clues are being really

hard to find."

He said the police were trying to locate witnesses to the attacks, and had spoken

to some.

Asked whether the police had descriptions of the grenade throwers, he said there

was some "controversy" over what they looked like.

Hockry confirmed that some witnesses said one of the attackers had long hair and

was possibly a woman, but he declined to provide any further description of the people

the police were looking for.

"I would not want to make any further comment on that. I think I would like

the police to work a little farther first."

On the night of Sept 30, two people on a passing motorcycle threw a grenade at Son

Sann's house. Another grenade was thrown at a pagoda where Son Sann supporters were

staying.

The attacks, which injured at least 35, were an apparent bid to prevent the holding

of Son Sann's disputed Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party congress the next day.

Within hours of the attack, Hockry and First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh had

promised a thorough investigation to find the culprits.

A host of other people have condemned the attacks, including King Norodom Sihanouk,

who called for the sternest punishment of those responsible.

Son Soubert, the National Assembly vice-president and son of Son Sann, said last

week the police had told him nothing about their investigation.

Soubert urged the government to ensure a serious inquiry into the grenade attacks,

even if it led to "high-ranking people."

"It is a question of credibility of the government - are they just going to

pay lip service or are they really serious in protecting the security of our people?"

Meanwhile, the Son Sann faction is appealing to the government to help reconciliation

of the fractured BLDP by staying out of its internal affairs.

BLDP MP and Son Sann ally Kem Sokha said his message to the government was "don't

worry about us... we don't want to destroy the country, we don't want to destroy

the government."

Son Soubert said he wrote to Ranariddh asking him to meet representatives of the

Son Sann group.

Soubert and Sokha said there was little prospect of reconciliation with the rival

BLDP faction of Ieng Mouly unless the Prime Ministers withdrew support for Mouly.

Soubert said that, if reconciliation were not possible, he saw no reason why there

could not be two BLDPs.

He cited India's Congress party and Australia's Labour Party, which had both at times

split into two parties with the same name, "and why can't we do that?"

Mouly, meanwhile, said he would continue to maintain that Son Sann's Oct 1 congress

was illegal and that his was the only legitimate BLDP.

On Son Sann using the name of BLDP, he said: "We continue to complain to the

authorities, to complain to the other parties and if we have to go to court, we will

go to court.

"It's the matter of recognition by other parties, by CPP and Funcinpec. If they

recognize them [Son Sann's faction] as BLDP, of course we cannot be."

Sokha dismissed the possibility of a merger of Son Sann's BLDP group and the new

party planned by Sam Rainsy. "We want to cooperate with Sam Rainsy but we don't

want to join together."

He added that he preferred there were as many new parties as possible, so the government

did not focus solely on Sann's BLDP group.

Son Sann supporters rejected the suggestion - from Second Prime Minister Hun Sen

- that the group had military forces which could be a threat to the government.

Hun Sen is said to have told a Council of Ministers meeting that, on the night of

the grenade attacks, he had received reports that armed forces controlled by Son

Sann were heading toward his house, and that of Mouly.

Keat Sokun, Son Sann's Secretary-General, said he had told Hun Sen that "it

seems someone has been twisting" information given to him.

"We have no troops," said Sokun.

Kem Sokha said: "If we had some forces, we could have done something for our

own security that night."

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