In the area around Krek, about 80 miles (125 Kms) from Phnom Penh near the South Vietnamese border, friction between the inhabitants and South Vietnamese troops has led to a general mobilisation of villagers.
In the area around Krek, about 80 miles (125 Kms) from Phnom Penh near the South Vietnamese border, friction between the inhabitants and South Vietnamese troops has led to a general mobilisation of villagers. The Khmer villagers have been organised into self-defence groups, operating in much the same way as the Post Control forces in Phnom Penh following the attempted assassination of the United States Ambassador to the Khmer Republic, Mr. Emory Swank, earlier this month.
Relations between Khmer and South Vietnamese forces have been strained since the war spread into the Khmer Republic. But following recent reports of rape and looting, the situation has reached boiling point. Earlier this month, rubber plantations in the Krek area commenced work after the French director had asked ARVN headquarters rather then Khmer authorities to start work. Shortly after, ARVN troops fired 3 M79 grenades into the Khmer 22nd camp--and one grenade went through the roof of the command post but no injuries were reported.
The situation has become so serious in the area that the villagers are threatening to give their support to the Viet Cong unless the Government gives them positive action on the issue.
SYNOPSIS: In the area around Krek, about 80 miles from the Khmer Republic capital of Phnom Penh, relations between local inhabitants and the South Vietnamese troops have reached boiling point. This Khmer camp, the 2nd Brigade base, was the centre of the argument last month.
The French director of a local rubber plantation has asked permission from the South Vietnamese command to commence work on his crop, rather than approach Khmer authorities. Following the ensuing argument between the commands, South Vietnamese troops fired three grenades into the camp. Tension has become so strained, that the Khmer Government has ordered a general mobilisation of the villagers.
The villagers, who laid complaints of rape and looting against the South Vietnamese troops, threatened to support the Viet Cong unless something was done--now they have been armed and organised into self-defence groups.
....The South Vietnamese troops do launch operations, but they are criticised for not getting out from their bases often enough. They fire heavy artillery at regular intervals every day.
The Khmer Government has issued general mobilisation orders three times in the last two years. Mobilisation calls for self defence units to be set up staffed by ten-house groups with the eventual aim of letting the villagers become responsible for their own security. Villagers are rarely trusted with arms, and the latest order has surprise even the United states Ambassador.
No official reason for the mobilisation order has been given, but it is widely known that the system is designed to protect the villagers from South Vietnamese troops as well as nearby Viet Cong, and the Krek area has taken to the plan more readily than other parts of the country.