Svay Rieng, southeast of the capital of the Khmer Republic, Phnom Penh, has seen some of the heaviest fighting of the indochina conflict.
Svay Rieng, southeast of the capital of the Khmer Republic, Phnom Penh, has seen some of the heaviest fighting of the indochina conflict. It was in this area of the Republic, near the border with South Vietnam, that American and South Vietnam forces fought in order to wipe out enemy sanctuaries. Since then, heavy fighting has continued, although Svay Rieng remains under the control of Khmer government forces.
Premier Marshal Lon Nol's deputy, Lieutenant-General Sirik Matak, visited the area on Wednesday (27 October) to attend the unveiling of a new Freedom Monument. The monument replaces one to deposed Head of State Norodom Sihanouk and commemorates the government's continuing control of the area.
SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant-General Sirik Matak was in Svay Rieng last week. Abolition of the twin-chamber assembly the previous week has resulted in a concentration of power in the hands of Premier Marshal Lon Nol and his deputy, General Matak.
Svay Rieng province, and the provincial capital of the same name,has been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the Indochina conflict. Near the border with South Vietnam, Svay Rieng was the area entered by American and South Vietnamese forces last year, in an effort to eliminate enemy sanctuaries there. Despite continued fighting since, the area has remained under the control of Khmer Republic forces. Republican troops in this area are among the finest available in the country.
Government officials, such as General Matak, make frequent visits to areas like Svay Rieng, in order to bolster support for the Phnom Penh government. Decorations for soldiers and war widows were presented by the General, during his visit.
But a special unveiling was the primary reason for the official visit. A new Freedom Monument was shown to the public for the first time. The monument commemorates the success of the Republic's forces in keeping the area free of the enemy. Previously, in Svay Rieng, there had been a monument to deposed Head of State, Norodom Sihanouk. That monument was removed when Prince Sihanouk was overthrown in March of this year. General Matak was treated to a special exhibition of traditional dancing, following the unveiling ceremony.
General Matak's visit comes at a time when the Government is trying to maintain the confidence of the people, following the recent dismissal of the Assembly and inflationary problems, which resulted in the Khmer riel being devalued by a massive one hundred and fifty-two per cent.