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."
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
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
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
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."