Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGO offers KR deal to free hostages



NGO offers KR deal to free hostages

NGO offers KR deal to free hostages

A N NGO has offered to provide water well drilling equipment and training to the

Khmer Rouge in exchange for the release of four staff, including a US woman, who

were taken hostage.

Robin Shell, director of Food for the Hungry

International, said: "We are negotiating with the KR using the normal

development approach, providing them with equipment and training so that they

can dig water wells themselves."

Shell said originally nine Cambodians

were kidnapped on March 31 by the KR, 20 km south of Kampot's district town of

Chhuk.

"Five captives were released two hours later to take back the

message that the KR wanted an expatriate to come and negotiate about wells."

Melissa Himes, a 24-year-old American relief official with FHI, went

that afternoon to negotiate the release of the rest of the captives when she was

herself taken hostage by the KR.

Shell said: "We have sought advice from

Crisis Consultants, a US company specializing in the release of kidnap victims,

we've decided to adopt a low-key approach which we believe is the best way to

solve the problem.

"Negotiations have been conducted through village

messengers. The KR did not ask for money, but they requested we provide them

with three wells.

"We offered instead to give them equipment and

training, now we are waiting for their response, we would like to help them with

wells as much as anybody else."

He added: "I feel confident but

concerned, we want our staff to come back. Two letters sent so far from Melissa

say she and her colleagues have been well-treated."

The KR carried out a

number of kidnappings of foreigners last year during the election process. All

the hostages were released unharmed.

Sources speculate that their well

digging activity may have been tapping into the KR's already limited water

supplies in the region.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants