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Defectors to help demine Anlong Veng

Defectors to help demine Anlong Veng

G OVERNMENT troops surrounding Anlong Veng have agreed on a defection plan with

Khmer Rouge defenders and each side will now begin locating the "millions" of

mines that have blocked the RCAF's entrance, according to RCAF

chiefs.

Siem Reap provincial military commander General Ung Oeun said on

March 6: "Since the day of the capture we have not got inside the town because

it is surrounded by millions of mines."

"But we have reached an agreement

with the Khmer Rouge defenders of Anlong Veng to defect and begin demining," he

said.

Anlong Veng was captured on Feb 23 by 8,000 RCAF soldiers who had

encirled the town, about 80 km north of Siem Reap, since late last year, he

said.

"A total of 260 rebel defenders of Anlong Veng stronghold have

defected to the Royal Government side. We captured it with no fighting. All

Khmer Rouge fighters who were stationed to defend Anlong Veng surrendered to

us," Oeun said.

Siem Reap deputy-governor Hem Bunheng said the KR

soldiers were sincere, co-operative and friendly, "that is why we allowed them

to continue to live there."

He said the defectors had provided their

names to the government and agreed to clear the mines around Along Veng to pave

a way for the government troops to get inside the town.

"Anlong Veng is

now garrisoned by a joint force of Royal army and the former Khmer Rouge

rebels... so Anlong Veng base and its forces belong to the Royal Government,"

the general said.

RCAF troops seized the town on Feb 5 last year but lost

it two weeks later.

"I hope this time we will hold Anlong Veng forever

from today because all of the Khmer Rouge there defected to us, " Oeun

said.

The KR have denied however that the town had fallen. AFP quoted KR

radio earlier in the week as saying that the base was still occupied and that

vegetables, rice and fruit were still being cultivated.

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