K HMER ROUGE guerrillas are building roads from their Anlong Veng stronghold to six nearby districts in Siem Reap province, abducting hundreds of Cambodian villagers to work as road builders, according to Siem Reap Deputy Governor Hem Bunheng.
"The KR are doing this to undermine the government and make our villagers angry with the government," Bunheng said in a telephone interview with the Post on Nov14.
He added that the KR told villagers that the government had no capability to build roads and persuaded villagers in the areas to live with them.
"I won't let them continue to do this... I will take my villagers back," he said.
"Yesterday I sent my men to the place where the KR are using my villagers as their slaves to tell them about how to get back."
He said that night 130 people fled and returned to their village homes and that no-one was killed.
He said the KR were building a road from Anglong Veng to Varin district, about 75km north of Siem Reap.
About 309 people were forced to leave their villages by the rebel guerrillas from Oct 25, to build roads and carry ammunition for their planned dry season offensive, he said.
"I don't believe the KR could succeed in their operation... it is just a disturbance to my province," he said.
He said he did not attack the KR rebels "because we don't want any of our villagers to be killed."
He said on Oct 25, KR guerrillas from Anlong Veng divided into groups and made trips to Varin, Svay Leu, Banteay Srei, Chikreng, Kralanh, and Chongkal districts.
They said they needed 20 to 25 people from each village, and threatened if they did no cooperate their houses would be burnt down, he said.
On Nov 1, 42 people were kidnapped from Varin district and 67 houses were razed when their owners refused to go with them.
On Nov 4 150 people from Chikreng were forced to follow, and two days later another 180 people from Kralanh and 30 from Svay Leu.
Prior to that, seven people had been taken from Chongkal district, just 74 km from Siem Reap.