Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Working among the cinders

Working among the cinders

Working among the cinders

THE group of villagers hunched over the crackling radio as it picked up the

voices of Khmer Rouge fighters talking to each other.

"Have you found the

commune chief's house yet?" one of the guerrillas could be heard radioing

another. "When you do, burn it and wait until it is smoldering on the

ground."

Among those eavesdropping on the instruction with the use of a

villager's radio was the village chief himself, who later retold the story to

the Post.

He - and his house - survived the attack on Kompung Shhalang

commune, 16km southwest of Battambang town, but many were not so

lucky.

Others, including children suffering serious burns, were left to

sift through the embers of their homes trying to recover whatever they could

after the KR hit-and-run attack.

It was a similar story at Rieng Kessey

commune, 15km south of Battambang, where the local militia chief said KR

attackers singled out particular buildings to burn.

They included 40

houses, the commune's school and its medicine clinic.

The militiaman said

villagers told him the KR guerrillas were looking for the woman who ran the

clinic, accusing her of helping soldiers by letting them use it.

"They

couldn't find the woman but they set it [the clinic] on fire."

Areas

around the town of Bavel, 40km northwest of Battambang - scene of previous

attacks by the KR - were again hit hard in the latest raids.

Initial

reports claimed that 8 out of the 10 villages at Kdol Tahen commune, just south

of Bavel, had been almost completely leveled.

Hundreds of houses and

buildings - including schools and a foreign-funded sanitation project - were

said to have been destroyed in repeated raids over several days. Seven civilians

were reported killed, and 15 wounded.

Villagers told the Post the RCAF

used helicopters to drop bombs to force the KR to retreat.

The commune

was the scene of a massacre of nearly 50 people in November by the KR, who

accused the villagers of aiding the RCAF.

MOST VIEWED

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong