Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mine casualties stop Anlong Veng assaul

Mine casualties stop Anlong Veng assaul

Mine casualties stop Anlong Veng assaul

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

booby traps.

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.

The

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

Oeurn said.

Earlier, Siam Reap deputy governor Hem Bunheng said up to

10,000 RCAF troops were stationed around Anlong Veng, in preparation for an

attack.

"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

14.

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

year.

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.

However,

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.

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