Kompong Cham, Cambodia's third largest town which straddles the MeKong River 120 Kms north-east of Phnompenh, fears it is about to be attacked by the Communists.
Travel shot Mekong River
Travel shot street showing closed shops
General In Tam in field (two shots)
Troops and civilians building fence
General In Tam points
General's sons help build fence
Cutting up bamboo stakes
Ditto, building bamboo barricade in b/g
CU Inserting stakes in ground
Building bunkers (two shots)
General In Tam and troops
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Kompong Cham, Cambodia's third largest town which straddles the MeKong River 120 Kms north-east of Phnompenh, fears it is about to be attacked by the Communists. Many shops in the town of 30,000 people have closed - a familiar prelude to an impending offensive.
The Chairman of the Cambodian National Assembly, Major General In Tam, is in charge of Len Nol forces in the area and has moved his command post to a frontline position. His troops, including two of his sons, are busy building defences in an area just south of the town. It was here earlier this week that 400 Communists attacked a government force.
It is important for the government that its forces retain control of Kompong Cham which has been under frequent attack before. The town occupies a strategic position on the Mekong River - a vital artery to the Cambodians as it carries so many of their supplies.
At the moment, supplies cannot be ferried downstream to Phnompenh as the Communists control another township, Peam Chikang (pronounced Pee-em Cheekong), lying between Kompong Cham and the capital. General In Tam says he is determined to drive the Communists out of the town and reopen the river.
(General In Tam was the man who read the proclamation last October declaring Cambodia a republic).