M ILITARY trucks each carrying around 50 Government soldiers - ten trucks last week,
another eight on Dec 12 - passed through Battambang to Rattanak Mondul in a possible
build-up to a dry season offensive.
Tanks have also been positioned in and around the same district, traditionally a
place of heavy dry season fighting against the Khmer Rouge.
A Cambodian district military commander told the Post that he and his troops were
preparing for this season's dry offensive.
"The main place for fighting is [usually] around Route 10, near Poipet,"
"We could start to fight within 15 days of receiving orders," he said,
"but we haven't received our orders yet."
The commander estimated there were around 3,000 "Khmer Rouge" in the area,
though he said that 1,000 of those were armed soldiers.
But Tea Banh, co-Minister of Defence, said the troop build-up was only to protect
the area against traditional KR offensives at this time of year.
"We are not going to attack the Khmer Rouge first," Tea Banh said.
He confirmed the area of build-up was to the north and west of Battambang, especially
on the Route 10 to the KR town of Pailin.