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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt troops prepare for more fighting

Govt troops prepare for more fighting

FIGHTING between Khmer Rouge guerrillas and government troops in Battambang province

has stopped temporarily from Jan 23, though Royal forces are preparing further attacks.

Soldiers returning from frontline positions in areas south of the border town of

Poipet said heavy shelling had been traded over the past week. The target seemed

centered around the rebel-held position of Klar Ngap.

One soldier, who asked not to be named, said many civilians and soldiers had been

injured but he was unable to give exact figures.

"The situation in Poipet has calmed down today (Jan 22)," he said.

He said about five trucks had taken soldiers up to Poipet in order to strengthen

forces preparing for more fighting later in the week.

In Battambang military hospital, mine-injured soldier Mou Chet of Division Nine said

that KR-laid mines had stopped government advances.

"During the attack [on Monday, Jan 22] I was running forward , then I stepped

on a mine. When I woke up I was in hospital and both my legs were cut off,"

the 22-year-old said.

First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh said on Jan 22 that the army had been

instructed to launch no dry-sason offensive until the KR shelling of Poipet had been

stopped.

Last week tens of civilians were killed in a series of artillery attacks on Poipet

which hit mainly the market area. Most of the victims were said to be children.

An aid-worker based in Battambang said there had been a lot of military movement

recently, not only around the Poipet-Sisophon area but also Battambang itself.

Over the last week up to 80 wounded soldiers had been admitted to just one of the

provincial hospitals in the northwest, according to a worker at the International

Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).

Since January 15 the ICRC had provided "small amounts" of aid to that hospital,

the man said.

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