G OVERNMENT troops advancing on Anlong Veng aborted a planned assault on the key
Khmer Rouge town on Feb 15 after hundreds were injured by land mines and other
Some 8,000-10,000 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF)
soldiers are said to be encircling the rebel stronghold, about 80km north of
Siem Reap town, poised to mount another offensive.
Siem Reap provincial
military commander General Ung Oeurn said on Feb 16 that a scheduled attack on
Anlong Veng the previous day had been abandoned because surrounding are as were
heavily-laid with mines and sharpened bamboo stakes.
About 180 RCAF
soldiers were wounded by the booby traps-most were evacuated to Phnom Penh's
military hospital-or in sporadic firefights with KR guerrillas.
injuries came as the soldiers made a concerted push toward Anlong Veng to take
up siege positions around it.
"The Khmer Rouge has planted so many mines
around the Anlong Veng base...it is a big problem for our troops to get in," Gen
Earlier, Siam Reap deputy governor Hem Bunheng said up to
10,000 RCAF troops were stationed around Anlong Veng, in preparation for an
"Our troops are moving as close as four to five kilometers to the
town and are awaiting orders for an assault," he said on Feb
Meanwhile, Siem Reap governor Toun Chay said the RCAF had captured
Khmer Rouge subordinate bases at Trapeang Ta, Lumtong and Sre Svay, about 30mm
west of the Anlong Veng stronghold.
The rebel base, considered to be an
important logistical and operational center for guerrilla activities in northern
Cambodia, was the scene of some of the bloodiest carnage around this time last
RCAF troops seized the town on Feb 5 last year-rifling through the
homes of such senior KR military commanders as the one-legged General Ta
Mok-when he rebels fled the town in the face of a heavy assault.
the KR returned a fortnight later to retake the town after repeated shelling and
counter-attacks which saw hundreds of RCAF soldiers killed or wounded.