Vietnamese-led forces of the Phnom Penh regime in Kampuchea appear to be using new tactics in fighting the guerrillas, Thai sources reported on Thursday (22 November).
Vietnamese-led forces of the Phnom Penh regime in Kampuchea appear to be using new tactics in fighting the guerrillas, Thai sources reported on Thursday (22 November). They said fighting by the Phnom Penh forces was being carried out by small units using guerrilla-style tactics, rather than large formations of troops. The situation is causing concern throughout the region. The Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, called on Western Europe, Japan and the United States to impose economic sanctions on Vietnam, until Hanoi withdraws its forces from Kampuchea. And the Association of South-East Asian nations (ASEAN) fears that the tension along the Thai border might result in the violation of Thai territory. The recent years of economic disruption in Kampuchea, and the current fighting, both contribute to the continuing need for aid to refugees. One of the several organisation involved is World Vision which has filmed scenes at the ill-defined border with Thailand.
SYNOPSIS: The jungle along the Kampuchean-Thai border contains may orphans and people too weak to walk to sanctuary in Thai refugee camps. Coaches from the Christian organisation World Vision and other agencies search for them.
Eye witnesses say some of the refugees are families left behind by guerrillas on the run from the Vietnamese-led forces. Many suffer from a variety of disease, and the medical problem has been further complicated by a recent incident. The International Committee of the Red Cross in Thailand are reported to be trying to analyze a powder, dropped by an unidentified helicopter which has been blamed for causing more sickness among the refugees. The Thai Supreme Command said that about seventy refugees had become ill after drinking water from a river contaminated by the powder.
Those who can walk, although weak and burdened by their few possessions, are taken by the Thai authorities, six thousand at a time using a hundred buses, to refugee camps.
The Thai authorities plan to move hundreds of thousands of people from the border area into huge camps further inland.
One of the new camps, Khao 1-Dang, could become the world's biggest. It has been rapidly built about seven miles (10 kms) from the border to hold two hundred thousand refugees, until more permanent camps can be constructed for them. A Thai spokesman estimated that close to six hundred thousand refugees are huddled along the border, most of them north of Aranyaprathet city.
Many of the refugees along the border are starting to move towards the new Khao 1-Dang camp, which could eventually cover five square kilometres (three square miles).