A day after a grenade exploded in the capital’s Boeung Keng Kang III commune, the Interior Ministry yesterday issued a statement calling the attack an attempt to affect Cambodia’s security, with police officials saying they had yet to identify the two suspects involved in the incident.
The grenade attack, which took place in Chamkarmon district just after 7:30pm on Tuesday, damaged four cars and left a small 3-inch crater on Street 163. The ministry’s statement said the explosion was aimed at putting the country’s security in a bad light among the international community.
“The Ministry of Interior deeply regrets the incident that injured innocent people and damaged property, and we firmly condemn this disgusting act,” the statement reads, adding that police officials were still searching for the suspects.
While initial reports on Tuesday said there were three injured, yesterday’s statement said there were four injured bystanders, with a police source confirming a fourth man was injured and took himself to Preah Kossamak Hospital for treatment.
CCTV footage widely circulated on the internet yesterday shows a grenade seemingly dropping from a passing moto, then exploding on the driver’s side of a white Lexus SUV as it passes seconds later.
The blast also damaged three other cars.
Maing Sokluch, chief of the capital’s military police anti-crime office, yesterday repeated police claims from late Tuesday night that authorities suspected “revenge” as the cause for the attack.
But National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith yesterday said that, based on early clues, the ministry had ruled out that possibility. “It is not an intentional attempt to kill anyone,” Chatharith said. “This could be related to a group that wants to create a scene.”
While police continue to search for the perpetrators, the blast has left residents of the commune shaken. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a sportswear vendor said the explosion had “scared” him, adding that he heard the explosion and thought nothing of it untill he went out and saw damaged cars, shattered glass everywhere and the injured victims.
In the wake of the attack, police authorities in Kandal’s Muk Kampoul district yesterday set up a checkpoint on National Road 6A, bordering the capital’s Chroy Changvar district. The roadblock had two large barriers wrapped in barbed wire and more than a dozen military and provincial police officials. Police officer Ngon Phon said the checkpoint was new and intended to prevent crimes, drug transport and traffic incidents.
However, Provincial Governor Mao Phirun pointed directly to Tuesday’s grenade attack in saying that authorities had to prepare themselves for any eventuality.
“We want to avoid the incident like last night’s grenade explosion, therefore we need to be careful . . . so people have confidence in the government and authority. We are protecting Kandal province like they protect Phnom Penh, in order to avoid violence and terrorism,” he said.
Separately, officials in Kampong Cham’s Prey Chhor district incorrectly classified an attack on a house in Chrey Vien commune at about midnight on Tuesday as a grenade attack, said district police chief Kao Sea Horn. The small-scale explosion had resulted from the burning of three AK-47 shells in a small container.
“It was not a grenade explosion, because we found just three empty AK-47 bullets,” he said, adding that police were looking for a 55-year-old Khiev Phan.
Additional reporting by Bun Sengkong