Eighty-Two Arrested in Wake of Cambodian Fighting, Police Hunt 46

Published November 27th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Cambodian police said Monday they have arrested 82 people in the wake of an attack by rebels on government buildings in Phnom Penh, and are seeking 46 more suspected insurgents. 

The military court also said it had prepared an arrest warrant for a US-based leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, identified as Chhun Yasith, which would be sent to the foreign ministry as part of an extradition request. 

"The foreign ministry is waiting for the arrest warrant from the court for those involved in terrorism on Novemebr 24, and we will send it to the United States," Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters. 

"We want him arrested and sent here to stand trial, or to stand trial in the United States." 

Phnom Penh's military police said they were holding 61 people in the wake of the fighting in the early hours of Friday morning which left eight people dead and 14 injured. 

"Immediately after the attack, the military police arrested 56 people. After our investigations, 36 have confessed their direct involvement in the attack. For the 20 others, we will release them after further investigation and reeducation," said General Chin Chan Por, chief of military police for Phnom Penh. 

"We have also arrested five more men involved in organizing the attack and are hunting for 46 more." 

He said those who had been confirmed to have been involved in the attack may be charged by the military court later Monday or early on Tuesday. 

Municipal police said they were holding 20 people, eight of whom would likely be released and 12 of whom would be sent to court. 

The interior ministry is holding a Cambodian-American, Richard Kiri Kim, 51, whom they said had confessed to being a mastermind behind the raid. They said he would be charged later in the day or early Tuesday. 

Diplomats at the US embassy confirmed an American citizen had been arrested at Siem Reap airport while attempting to leave the country. 

They said he had not been mistreated, but declined to comment on the allegations against him. 

Opposition leader and fierce government critic Sam Rainsy has alleged the violence was "orchestrated" in an effort to divert attention from the country's real problems, such as poverty and human rights violations. 

The United Nations human rights envoy to Cambodia said Sunday he would call on the government to hold an inquiry into the violence and urged authorities to treat fairly suspected rebels who have been captured -- PHNOM PENH (AFP)  




© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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