Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kratie guerrillas sold short after defection

Kratie guerrillas sold short after defection

Kratie guerrillas sold short after defection

KRATIE - A spokesman for the 552 Khmer Rouge defectors integrated in to RCAF here

at the beginning of the month says the troops are angry and upset by their treatment

from the army so far.

An officer for the soldiers, mainly from Division 801, said that they had been left

to sleep in the open and had not received enough food or medical care, nor had they

seen any salary.

RCAF has acknowledged the problem but says it is the same throughout the country

- the army is short of cash.

Seng Kham Chan Tarong, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said the government

had guaranteed that it would provide food, shelter, clothing and money for the defectors.

But he said right now there was not enough food to go around.

However he was not concerned that the current spartan conditions would drive the

defectors back to the forest. He said that even though conditions were hard, they

were easier with the government than what they were in the jungle.

His comment was echoed by General Neang Phat of the Defense Ministry. "Their

current life is much better then when they were under Ta Mok... they now have freedom

to do as they like."

Tarong said that he believed despite some shortages the material benefits of having

defected were attractive to the former guerrillas.

"They cannot go back when we have good control, good food and medical supplies,"

he said.

"We will not leave them to continue to be guerrillas to continue the bloody

war between Khmer and Khmer. The government will not ignore to them."

The defectors in Kratie don't dispute RCAF's assessment of their motivation for defecting.

Nor do they want to go back. They say they just want what was promised them.

One soldier said he defected because "all of my life, all the time fighting,

always fighting".

He said that Ta Mok and the other senior members of the Khmer Rouge were wealthy

but they never shared the wealth nor did they adequately provide for their men. He

said even if they had done so he and his comrades would still have defected because

they were sick of the fighting and sick of Ta Mok.

He said Ta Mok had got so paranoid he was offering Thai mercenaries 500 baht a day

to guard him.

Meanwhile the defectors are now holding out hope for a promised resettlement package

which would see them settled into two new villages near Kratie.

Tarong said that package still had to be worked out between the army and provincial

authorities but he believed the government would help solve the problem.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol