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
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
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
"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
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.