Feb 6: Reuters reported: Khmer Rouge guerrillas shot and killed a villager
who climbed a tree near the Thai border to pick its leaves for food. A Thai army
official said the rebels apparently believed the climber was a government spy. KR
guerrillas told reporters on the border that 12 government soldiers were killed when
their T-55 tank detonated a mine south of Poipet.
Feb 7: Reuters reported: The UN expressed concern that Khmer Rouge guerrillas
may be involved in increasing Cambodian drug trafficking. Georgio Giacomelli, executive
director of the UN International Drug Control Program, said in Phnom Penh that drugs
appear "where insurrectional movements and guerrilla movements have to finance
and buy their weapons." He said Cambodia is no exception. The UN plans a $100,000
program to help the country coordinate operations against drug trafficking.
Feb 7: Reuters reported: Japanese trading firm Mitsui and Co Ltd has started
a project to develop some Cambodian commodities in eastern Kompong Cham province
for export, a company official said. Tsutomu Watanabe, Mitsui's general manager for
Indochina, Burma and Thailand, said the company has started experiments with cultivation
of sesame seeds for vegetable oil and black pepper for export to Japan.
Feb 8: Reuters reported: Fighting in the remote northwest has claimed 69
KR guerrillas and 13 government soldiers, ministry of information spokesman Sieng
Lapresse said. A total of 106 from both sides have been wounded in fighting, according
to the first government figures released since fighting restarted last month.
Feb 8: A one-year education project aimed at giving business a voice in
the formation of economic policy was announced by the Preah Sihanouk Raj Academy.
The research grant from the US National Endowment for Democracy will be headed by
Dr Thach Bunroeun, the academy's founder and executive vice president. The project
will concentrate on economic policy making, business advocacy and public communication.
Feb 8: A rural development program to help small farmers, women and youth
in Kompong Thom Province is scheduled to open this month, the German Embassy announced.
The project will help develop small scale agriculture, non-agricultural income opportunities,
strengthening of self-help capacities and local organizations. The project is planned
to last 10 years, with Germany putting up US$7 million for the first three. It will
be officially opened by Dr Hong Sun Hout and a representative of the German Embassy.
Feb 9: Reuters reported: Cambodia hopes to have a countrywide telecommunications
network operational by April, So Kuhn, secretary of state of post and telecommunication,
said. He said in a speech that more than 2,000 telecommunications lines had been
connected to the more remote provinces.
Feb 9: Reuters reported: Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said King Norodom
Sihanouk would have greater political clout if he abdicated and became a "super
citizen." Rainsy, speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong,
said, "I think the king is in a position to play a positive and unifying role,
and over the last few months he has started to consider abdication."
Feb 11: Reuters reported: Association of Southeast Asian Nations left Cambodia
expressing optimism about the country's development prospects, Hor Sothoun, a ministry
of foreign affairs spokesman, said. He said Cambodia must soon appoint a "senior
economic official" to attend ASEAN economic meetings to speed up the country's
eventual full membership in the seven-nation group. Cambodia and Vietnam are observer
countries, and Burma has applied for that status.
Feb 13: A two-member team gathering facts for donors in Sweden started
a 10-day fact-finding visit in Cambodia. The Sida representatives concentrated on
democracy, the media and the free press. They met with representatives of international
organizations and local media groups.
Feb 14: Reuters reported: The Thai Army imposed curfews along stretches
of the Cambodia border in an effort to prevent Khmer Rouge and Cambodian government
forces from using Thai soil to launch attacks on each other, a Thai officer said.
A 9pm to 4am curfew went into effect opposite Poipet and a dusk-to-dawn curfew fell
on a border road north of the Thai town of Aranyaprathet.
Feb 14: Reuters reported: Medical workers and wounded soldiers in Phnom
Penh said Cambodian forces have suffered hundreds of casualties in intense fighting
with KR guerrillas over the past weeks. The 200-bed military hospital in Battambang
was reported filled to capacity and Dr Kao Try at Phnom Penh's military hospital
said 876 soldiers were being treated. The government has played down the offensive,
saying it is a limited operation to push guerrillas away from government towns.
Feb 15: Office equipment to help day to day work on national immunization
days was handed over by Japan in a ceremony at the Ministry of Health. The equipment
included typewriters, personal computers, photocopy machines and a generator.
Feb 15: Reuters reported: King Norodom Sihanouk has appealed to "rich
countries and friends" for emergency assistance to upgrade Cambodia's crowded
and poorly equipped military hospitals. In a statement from Bejing, where he is receiving
medical treatment, the King said: "The civil war has intensified... During the
past days, weeks and months the situation has become more dramatic than ever and
the number of victims from the war and the land mines continues to rise."
Feb 16: A ribbon was cut and a cloth removed from a billboard promoting
mine awareness in Kompong Speu Province. Minister of Information Ieng Mouly was to
speak, according to an announcement from the Cambodian Mine Awareness Centre who
organized the event in cooperation with the Coca-Cola Company.
Feb 16: Reuters reported: The government hopes to sign contracts with a
French, a Malaysian and a Cambodian company for separate projects to manage rubber
plantations in Kompong Cham province, said Ly Phala, director of the agriculture
ministry's rubber plantation directorate. The French company Plantations des Terres
Rouges seeks to manage a 14,000-hectare plantation, and the Cambodian firm Mong Rethy
proposes to develop a 3,300-hectare plantation. He gave no details about the bid
by Malaysia's Charm Oriental Sdn Bhd.
Feb 19: Reuters reported: Many more Khmer Rouge killing fields have been
found across Cambodia, and the number of people who died during the KR's 1975-78
rule may be as high as 2 million, an official of the Cambodian Genocide Program said.
Craig Etcheson, manager of the US government-funded project, said investigators have
found evidence of as many as 1,000 mass graves, with an average of 100 to 250 victims
each, in some districts. Earlier estimates of the number of people who were executed
or died of starvation, forced labor or disease under the KR ranged from 1 million
to 1.7 million.
Feb 20: Groundbreaking was scheduled for a project to improve the Phnom
Penh telecommunication network - including the deteriorated underground phone system.
Japan will give US$18 million to help rebuild the system. The ceremony at Sihanouk
and Monivong Boulevards was attended by So Kuhn, secretary of state for posts and
telecommunications, and Shigenobu Kato, Japanese charge d'affaires.