Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Refugees tell of ordeal on the run

Refugees tell of ordeal on the run

Refugees tell of ordeal on the run

BAVEL-About one thousand refugees from fighting a month ago have sought safety

in Bavel district town. They were forced to leave their homes in Ampil Pram

Daeum commune-about 12 km northwest of Bavel-which was attacked by the Khmer

Rouge last month.

Kong Lai, 30, described the attack: "Khmer Rouge

soldiers killed by husband. He was just a farmer. They burned my house and I and

my daughter ran away empty handed. I couldn't even take my rice

pot."

"They burnt houses, the commune office, school and temple. I don't

know why they did this," said Khon Yen, 42.

They said they'd received no

assistance since they arrived in Bavel in February.

Government troops

were dispatched to push back the guerrillas and are controlling the commune.

Officers of Division 6 in Bavel said, however, the displaced families would not

be able to return to their home villages in the near future. They said the main

obstacle to their return was that water was poisoned by the KR.

Div. 6

Col Yuth Sary said a Buddhist temple in Ampil Pram Daeum was destroyed by the

rebels using dynamite. The KR had laid about 100 new mines on the road between

Bavel and Ampil Pram Daeum. One couple was killed in a mine explosion while

trying to collect their property in the commune on March 18.

Sary said

the KR tried to carry out hit-and-run attacks in an attempt to draw government

troops away from Pailin.

"They [KR] are using the same hit-and-run

strategy. Their guerrilla tactics are the same like in Anlong Veng where they

just retreated and let our troops come in, then they started attacking from the

rear in order to cut off resupply routes," said Sary.

"They are trying to

take revenge in Ampil Pram Daeum where they suffered losses after three attempts

to capture it," he said.

He added that the KR have reportedly sought

sanctuary for their sick and wounded comrades near the Tonle Sap as their

headquarters in Pailin was about to fall.

When asked if peace would

emerge when the government takes Pailin, Sary said "Seizure of Pailin does not

mean destroying the Khmer Rouge. It may reduce the morale of KR soldiers, but it

does not mean that the civil war is over."

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