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KR surprise raid catches town napping

KR surprise raid catches town napping

BAVEL - Approximately 150 Khmer Rouge soldiers made a surprise attack on the

district town Bavel, 50 km west of Battambang city, and destroyed three

ammunition houses of the governent's Division 6.

Two weapons warehouses

were destroyed and one was damaged by rockets. The house of the district police

chief was also attacked in the March 22 raid.

Local residents said that

the KR launched the attack at 5:30 am and briefly occupied the town until they

were driven out at approximately 10 am.

Two KR soldiers were killed. Two

government police and a civilian woman were injured during the attack. Local

residents blamed the police and government soldiers for being reckless.

Chan Ty, a taxi driver, said, "the KR warned several times that they

would attack Bavel if they lose Pailin because they are looking for air to

breath. Now they made it and our soldiers just run for goodness." He added "we

decided to lock the door of our house and escape to Battambang."

The KR

attacked the village from the north, northwest and west sides of the town,

opening fire on the police station where the policemen were still apparently

asleep, witnesses said, adding that the police shortly abandoned their station

and ran to the headquarters of Division 6 located about 500 meters down the

road.

A moto taxi driver who refused to be named said, "When the police

ran away, the KR came in and fired guns at the house of the police chief." The

police chief was not hurt.

Black pieces of shattered metal were all that

was left of the two warehouses. Bullets, rockets and other ordinance exploded

while some villagers scavenged for scrap metal. No one was injured by the

explosions.

Army officers of division six refused comment, telling the

Post "Everything is fine now. No pictures and go away."

Houses and shops

closed doors as owners packed up and left for safety. Kuch Kuon Heng, 56, said,

"I don't know how to count how many times we've escaped from Bavel before. We

are used to running."

In Thmar Kol, located on route 5, 30 km north of

Battambang, people fled in convoys to the provincial town. Government soldiers

in the area fired several rounds of DK-82mm to block a KR advance from east of

Thmar Kol.

Sitha, 26, said she was the sister of the police chief in

Bavel. She and her 6-month old boy left the village to see relatives in Thmar

Kol, hoping that she would be secure but her relatives had fled as the situation

in their hometown had become tense.

Sitha said "I am very afraid when I

hear gunshouts. I thought it would be safe. That's why I went to my relatives

here in Thmar Kol. But now I am running again." ttambang."

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