Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer Rouge attack PEC staff near Anlong Veng

Khmer Rouge attack PEC staff near Anlong Veng

Khmer Rouge attack PEC staff near Anlong Veng

anlong.gif
anlong.gif

KR ELECTION DISRUPTION

Balloting materials destined for an Anlong Veng-area polling station lay charred

and tattered after a Khmer Rouge attack. A Mao cap and sandals, belonging to

the tractor driver who was one of two killed in the ambush, were also recovered.

THE VISION of Cambodia's nationwide election was threatened July 17 when a band of

guerrillas suspected to be hardline Khmer Rouge ambushed a group of Cambodian election

officials near Anlong Veng.

Two election workers were killed and five injured in the attack on a tractor carrying

ballots, ballot boxes and other polling materials to a Commune Election Commission

in Trapeang Prasat district, about 15km east of Anlong Veng, according to the National

Election Committee (NEC).

"They sent the Khmer Rouge along the road, and when the tractor came they attacked,"

Srey Yon, a Provincial Election Commission official wounded in the attack, told The

Associated Press in Siem Reap. "Some of them collected everything from the tractor

and put it in a fire."

Most of the polling material was damaged in the attack, NEC spokesman Samraing Kamsan

said. Two ballot boxes and 2,808 ballot papers have gone missing.

Srey Yon said he believed the Khmer Rouge were tipped off that polling equipment

would be coming through the area because they appeared to be waiting in ambush. "I

think Ta Mok doesn't want anyone in these elections," he said in reference to

the one-legged leader of the last remaining hardline guerrillas.

Sloppy security may have allowed the Khmer Rouge to stage the ambush, according to

one RCAF officer in Siem Reap, who explained to the Post that the driver of the tractor

did not ask for military protection and then radioed ahead to Trapeang Prasat village,

a communication that could have easily been intercepted by the hardliners.

Meas Sophea, a RCAF deputy chief of staff, added that a skirmish between government

and Khmer Rouge troops had occurred in the area just a day before. The RCAF drove

off the Khmer Rouge and killed one rebel soldier, the general said, which may have

contributed to a false sense of security in Trapeang Prasat.

News of the attack provoked condemnations of the Khmer Rouge by political parties

and the United Nations, whose 1993 election effort in Cambodia was much more seriously

dogged by the pullout of the Khmer Rouge and subsequent rebel attacks on ethnic Vietnamese

during the campaign and polling stations on election day.

"The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human

Rights in Cambodia [Thomas Hammarberg] condemns the attack on election staff officials

in Anlong Veng," a UN statement read.

"[UN human rights staff] are furthermore investigating information received

about plans by the remnants of the Khmer Rouge to disrupt the electoral process through

the use of violence in areas they continue to operate. The information received has

been shared with the National Election Committee."

NEC officials are still optimistic that election preparations will continue in and

around the former Khmer Rouge stronghold that was captured by government forces in

April after a mass defection of key rebel division commanders.

"We will continue our efforts for voting in Trapeang Prasat," Samraing

Kamsan said. "The attack happened because of carelessnes by peaceful [PEC members

and CEC members in the area]. The CEC and the security forces were caught thinking

about peace. But now we must toughen ourselves. If something else happens, we will

deal with it then. This is the normal situation in a front-line area. But the NEC

has not made a decision to withdraw."

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • SOPs steer ‘new normal’ tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism has introduced a set of minimum standard operating procedures (SOP) for four major classes of tourism businesses, which is geared towards the “new normal” of the industry. These SOPs are tailored to support businesses in their daily activities and enable them

  • Sleepless in sin city – Will half-sized, outlawed online gambling sector persist below the surface in Cambodia?

    Chinese authorities are coming down hard on online gambling. Similar events are starting to happen in Cambodia, raising questions as to how all of this will end It is 1:30pm, Sotheary (not her real name) is sitting on the wooden floor of her house, facing

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision