More than fifty-thousand Kampucheans (Cambodian) have fled across their border to Thailand in the wake of a new Vietnamese-led advance.
More than fifty-thousand Kampucheans (Cambodian) have fled across their border to Thailand in the wake of a new Vietnamese-led advance. They include hundreds of Khmer Rouge soldiers fighting the cause of the ousted Pol Pot government, as well as women and children. The refugees have been confined to a small area in eastern Thailand -- just over three hundred kilometres (about 200 miles) from the capital of Bangkok.
SYNOPSIS: For the fleeing soldiers and frightened Kampuchean civilians, the trek across the Thai border offered the only hope of safety from the vietnamese-led forces. But the welcome the refugees received was far from friendly. The Thai army fears that the entry of Khmer rouge soldiers will bring the Kampuchean conflict and fighting into thailand. They have stepped up border patrols to control the refugees, turning hundreds of them away -- back into Cambodia.
In the past few days, more than thirty thousand Vietnamese troops have swept through Kampuchea, taking the Khmer held town of Poiret and capturing rebel jungle strongholds, Their objective was to rout out the last pockets of rebel resistance before the onset of the wet season next month.
Hundreds of Khmer Rouge soldiers retreated across the Thai border, only to be detained and escorted back into Cambodia.
For some, however, the prospect of returning to what now seems a lost flight, proved too much.
After being driven to the border and sent across, he turned and walked back to Thailand. Offering up his arms he surrendered to Thai forces and wept as he begged to be allowed to stay. He was driven away by Thai authorities.
While Thai forces battle to control the Kampuchean exodus, the population in the makeshift refugee camps along the border is growing quickly. According to Reuters many of the civilian refugees, were forced to evacuate their villages by retreating Khmer soldiers, who used them to carry food supplies and ammunition.
Heavy fighting is continuing in Kampuchea and Reuters report that fifty thousand civilians and Khmer Rouge troops are trapped in a fifty kilometre long strip of land running parallel to Thailand's eastern border. Many more refugees are expected to cross into Thailand.