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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Confusion on whom to pin the blame

Confusion on whom to pin the blame

PROVINCIAL police chief Soth Nady has shouldered the

blame for not protecting Second Prime Minister Hun Sen

from a purported assassination attempt.

"I was careless in my competence," Nady told

the Post Sept 28. "We didn't pay attention to the

safety of that place," he said, talking about the

rocket site just a few hundreds meters from the turn-off

into Siem Reap town, on a busy road from both hotels

where all party MPs were staying. The road leads into the

garden area between the Palace and the Grand Hotel.

"We only paid attention to the important

areas," he said.

Ministry of Interior official Khieu Sopheak said the

police were not careless. "For this attempt, even if

[the terrorists] were successful or not, they will always

take this opportunity."

Two notes, written in green marker pen, were found

wrapped inside a black-taped detonation devise, wired

some meters away from the bush where the rockets were

hidden. "The King Bee killers are going to kill all

dictator leaders," read one note. "This is the

end of the dictators," said the other. Nady said the

terrorists thought their attempt succeeded 100%. But

[these notes] are a clue for us to capture them".

Eight men were questioned by police soon after the

incident "but since they were not involved we

released them all," said justice police deputy

chief, Tan Chay.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanarith said neither the CPP

nor the government had accused any opposition leaders


However, Prime Minister-elect Hun Sen said: "I feel

that if Hun Sen was killed, the leaders of the opposition

would be killed soon [too] becasue the experts noted that

the act was carried out by the opposition."

Hun Sen said neither O'Smach nor Khmer Rouge troops could

have made the attempt, although Nady had told the Post

that there had been unsubstantiated rumors that men from

both rebel groups had infiltrated into Siem Reap in weeks


"The network that carried out this activity are

those who carried out [similar ones] during the electoral

campaign," Hun Sen said.

"If, this morning, I died, it [would have] meant

that the Assembly's session would be cancelled and

similtaneous fighting would have happened," Hun Sen

said. He added he would give $200,000 to the terrorists

who laid the bombs, just to find out from them who was

behind it.

Some witnesses immediately after the event said they saw

four or five vehicles pass in the first convoy, then

suddenly the sound of an explosion.

Witness Sok Khom, 39, said that a handful of policemen

had been deployed "in that place", pointing to

the bush where the rockets had been rigged. She added the

policemen had left the area around dusk, the night before

the attack.

Mean Sarun, deputy chief of demining group CMAC, in Siem

Reap, said "these bombs were planted last


No witnesses could be found to definitively say which car

was nearest the blast.



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