The Khmer Government has alleged that insurgents are using poison gas against Government forces. On?
The Khmer Government has alleged that insurgents are using poison gas against Government forces. On film are some of the alleged victims.
The allegation by the Khmer High Command followed an incident on Wednes (13 February) 12 kilometres (eight miles) north-north west of Phnom Penh. Government forces said on 82mm mortar shell landed near them and exploded in a cloud of purple and blue smoke, overcoming some of them. A jeep and on armoured personnel carrier were despatched to bring the casualties back to the command post 500 metres away.
Visnews cameraman Neil Davis, who filmed this report, says the Khmer Government has made poison gas allegations on several occasions in the past but this is the first time newsmen have seen alleged victims at first hand. There were 18 casualties and one of them, according to the local commander, died on the way to hospital.
Davis, who has filmed scores of demonstrations in which normal riot-control gas has been used, says this was not normal riot-control gas. If i had been, he points out, the troops would have recovered quickly once they had been evacuated.
But on this occasion the alleged victims did not make a quick recovery. Davis says some were seen to vomit and nearly all of them appeared to have trouble breathing. All were given first-aid treatment on the spot before being taken to hospital.
Davis has been covering the war in Indo-China for the past ten years and it is his belief that this is the first occasion in which victims of alleged poison gas have been photographed. The Geneva Agreement of 1925 outlawed the use of poison gas.