Phnom Penh - the capital of the Khmer Republic - has been put on a state of alert with reports that communist rebels have begun infiltrating the city.
Phnom Penh - the capital of the Khmer Republic - has been put on a state of alert with reports that communist rebels have begun infiltrating the city. On Wednesday (9 August) - only six days before all United States military involvement in the Khmer Republic is due to come to an end - the Khmer Rouge radio warned of the possibility of an uprising, telling people to stay away from any military installations.
On Wednesday afternoon in Phnom Penh, the Khmer government moved Armoured personnel carriers onto street corners and redoubled security checks as more refugees fled into the already overcrowded city. It's already provided some refuge for more than one million people.
There's already been some work started on fortifications - badly needed, because the city is poorly defended.
The official date for the end of all United States military activity - including bombing - is August 15, but close to Phnom Penh, there are signs of preparations for uprising when the United States closes down. Troops are erecting barbed wire and preparing strongpoints. Inside the city proper, military police have been making raids on houses to unearth hidden weapons. It's feared that there are many communist commandos lying low in Phnom Penh, just waiting for the signal to start some sort of insurrection, to go hand in hand with a general assault from outside.
But the activity hasn't all been in Phnom Penh. United States F-One-Eleven Swing-wing bombers have pounded the so-called 'enemy hideout' belt near the disused rail station of Sam Rong, six miles (10KM) northeast of the city. On Friday (10 August), the United States command in Phnom Penh said the bombing raids in the morning were heavier around that area than they'd ever been. The report also made it clear that the guerrillas had suffered heavy losses with several hundred killed in the week's raids.
The United States raids - a sort of last ditch effort before the official lay-down of arms - came close to Phnom Penh's airport too. The F-One-Elevens unleashed a wave of bomb attacks only two miles (3.5KM) from the airport on the already-attacked and deserted village of Kop Srauv. Only a day before (8 August), it had been over-run and attacked by communists....some of whom stayed behind, using the battered houses as a hideout.
SYNOPSIS: United States F-One-Eleven bombers pounded the village of Kop Srauv, only two miles from Phnom Penh on Wednesday. The village had been attacked by communists only twenty-four hours earlier. Some of them had stayed to use it as a hideout. They stayed until the F-One-Elevens arrived.
The enemy's legacy was tragic...the village was left laid waste and smouldering. But the communists paid dearly for their raids. The United States command in Phnom Penh said that the week's bombing raids killed several hundred guerrillas. Phnom Penh itself has been put on alert. Many communists are said to have infiltrated the city, and warnings have gone out that they could be planning an uprising.
In the city proper, the Khmer Government began erecting fortifications on Thursday. Soldiers were moved into key areas, the armoured personnel carriers were sent in to stand in strategic positions. The big security buildup wasn't just to back up the until-now poorly defended city, but to provide a guard large enough for the refugees streaming into town.
Already, over a million refugees have moved into the city, finding shelter wherever they can. Even in an old bombed train carriage. But more refugees are on their way, and the job of protecting them and feeding them has already stretched Phnom Penh's resources to the limits.
Even as the refugees swarm into the city, the Khmer Government has soldiers on the streets erecting barbed wire barricades and fences....positive signs of preparations for a communist uprising when the United States closedown comes into effect on the fif??? of August.