Patterns of Global Terrorism 1997 - Cambodia

Continued defections from the Khmer Rouge to the government and the split of the group into pro- and anti-Pol Pot factions have greatly reduced the threat it poses. Nevertheless, the hardliners based in the Khmer Rouge stronghold at Anlong Veng regularly launched guerrilla-style attacks on government troops in several provinces from July onward. Guerrillas are also suspected in two deadly attacks against ethnic Vietnamese civilians in Cambodia, but they have denied playing a role in the disappearance of two Filipino and two Malaysian employees of a logging company in December 1997.

The most significant terrorist incident in Cambodia in 1997 was the grenade attack on an opposition political rally on 30 March. Nineteen persons were killed in the attack, and more than 100 were injured, including one US citizen. Those responsible for the attack have not yet been apprehended.

Reacting to political violence throughout July, Second Prime Minister Hun Sen announced an eight-point program in August designed to improve the security situation in Cambodia. The new measures include government crackdowns on illegal roadblocks and weapons and a ban on tinted windows intended to discourage kidnapping and arms smuggling.

The fate of British mineclearing expert Christopher Howes, allegedly kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge in March 1996, remained unresolved in 1997. Unconfirmed reporting suggested Howes was with forces loyal to Pol Pot, and some Cambodian officials expressed fears publicly that he had been killed. In May, Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan denied any knowledge of Howes' whereabouts.


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