BAVEL-About one thousand refugees from fighting a month ago have sought safety
in Bavel district town. They were forced to leave their homes in Ampil Pram
Daeum commune-about 12 km northwest of Bavel-which was attacked by the Khmer
Rouge last month.
Kong Lai, 30, described the attack: "Khmer Rouge
soldiers killed by husband. He was just a farmer. They burned my house and I and
my daughter ran away empty handed. I couldn't even take my rice
"They burnt houses, the commune office, school and temple. I don't
know why they did this," said Khon Yen, 42.
They said they'd received no
assistance since they arrived in Bavel in February.
were dispatched to push back the guerrillas and are controlling the commune.
Officers of Division 6 in Bavel said, however, the displaced families would not
be able to return to their home villages in the near future. They said the main
obstacle to their return was that water was poisoned by the KR.
Col Yuth Sary said a Buddhist temple in Ampil Pram Daeum was destroyed by the
rebels using dynamite. The KR had laid about 100 new mines on the road between
Bavel and Ampil Pram Daeum. One couple was killed in a mine explosion while
trying to collect their property in the commune on March 18.
the KR tried to carry out hit-and-run attacks in an attempt to draw government
troops away from Pailin.
"They [KR] are using the same hit-and-run
strategy. Their guerrilla tactics are the same like in Anlong Veng where they
just retreated and let our troops come in, then they started attacking from the
rear in order to cut off resupply routes," said Sary.
"They are trying to
take revenge in Ampil Pram Daeum where they suffered losses after three attempts
to capture it," he said.
He added that the KR have reportedly sought
sanctuary for their sick and wounded comrades near the Tonle Sap as their
headquarters in Pailin was about to fall.
When asked if peace would
emerge when the government takes Pailin, Sary said "Seizure of Pailin does not
mean destroying the Khmer Rouge. It may reduce the morale of KR soldiers, but it
does not mean that the civil war is over."