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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Would-be bombers identified

Would-be bombers identified

Govt says suspects trying to disrupt January 7 celebrations

POLICE have identified two suspects in connection with Friday's foiled bomb plot that appeared to target the Defence Ministry and a state television station, officials say.

"[The perpetrators] placed these explosive devices to scare people from attending the anniversary of January 7," Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith told reporters Sunday, referring to the upcoming public holiday that celebrates the 1979 victory over the Khmer Rouge by Vietnamese-backed Cambodian forces.

He refused to comment further, saying that he did not want to jeopardise the ongoing investigation.

But Em Sam An, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and president of the National Secretariat for Anti-Terrorism, said Sunday that police had yet to make any arrests and were continuing to investigate.

"It was not [international] terrorism," he added.

Around 50,000 people are set to participate in the celebrations at Olympic Stadium, he added.  

Three explosive devices were found Friday in front of the Defence Ministry and near the TV3 offices. They were later disassembled and destroyed by mine clearance personnel.

Heng Ratana, deputy director general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, told the Post on Sunday that the explosive devices were "improvised mines" - small bombs that had been placed in cans of mosquito repellent and small cooking gas containers.

Heng Ratana said the devices did not cause any significant damage when they were destroyed in controlled explosions since they contained no shrapnel.

But he warned that the bombs could still have wounded anyone passing by.

A similar incident occurred in July 2007 when three fertiliser bombs were found and detonated near the Vietnamese friendship monument in the park opposite Wat Botum.

Vietnam's role in Cambodia during the 1980s remains controversial, and Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Chea Poch said he would not participate in this week's celebration.

"[January 7] was the day that Vietnamese troops came and invaded Cambodia, adding further misery to the Cambodian people."



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