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Govt repulses KR push near Sisophon

Govt repulses KR push near Sisophon

ROYAL Government forces repelled a major Khmer Rouge attack just outside

Sisophon along Route 5 on June 7, with observers describing the six-hours of

artillery exchanges as the most intense since 1989.

The RCAF got advance

intelligence of the attack and were able to get tanks in position to halt the

night time raid.

There were no civilian casualties though KR motar shells

were lobbed at Sisophon. Some houses were burnt along Route 5, according to a

diplomatic source.

The source said: "The RCAF showed its fighting to

capacity by halting the attack and has renewed the confidence of the civilian

populace in them."

Accurate casualty reports have yet to emerge though

the RCAF said their intense artillery barrages wounded large numbers of

guerrillas, who mounted their attack from Bavel. Meanwhile international aid

agency sources reported an increase in the number of taxis making the trip along

Route 5 from Sisophon to the market town of Poipet, though the border crossing

to Thailand has yet to re-open.

A Western military analyst said a force

of 500 KR fighters was planning to attack the border checkpoint at Arn Ses and

the district capital of Choam Khsan in Preah Vihear province. Choam Khsan has

been cut off for months by road from the provincial capital of T'beng

Meanchey.

The source also said that the notorious Gen Ta Mok, known as

the one-legged butcher, has taken over operations in Siem Reap

province.

KR guerrillas fought an overnight battle with government forces

on June 5 along Route 6 for two bridges and succeeded in blowing up another

bridge west of Puok in Siem Reap province.

Other government reports put

the total of KR fighters killed during May at 286, with two tanks being captured

and another two destroyed. No figures were available for government casualties

but independent observers say four RCAF soldiers die for every six KR guerrillas

killed.

Fighting has been reported in Kampot province and a relief worker

reported that Krang Leav, the Khmer Rouge village where US hostage Melissa

Himes, held had been bombed. Apparently it was a calculated revenge attack.

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