Foreign residents are being evacuated from Phnom Penh as rocket attacks on the Khmer Republic capital continue.
Foreign residents are being evacuated from Phnom Penh as rocket attacks on the Khmer Republic capital continue. The city has been under daily bombardment by anti-Government forces for the last four weeks, and casualties and damage are increasing. Dependents of foreign embassy staffs have been among the first to leave the city. There have also been reports of wealthy Khmers trying to secure seats on outgoing flights.
On Wednesday (16th January), the Khmer Military High Command claimed it had cleared insurgent forces in an area to the north west of Phnom Penh - the result of a 19-day operation in which they said 301 anti-Government troops were killed. But the insurgents are reported to have switched their attack to the southern side of the Capital, and there is, apparently, fierce fighting in the area along the Bassac River.
Government officials put the casualty figures at 30 dead and 200 wounded in the rocket attacks to date. The international airport has been one of the prime targets for the communist-led forces. A French school was hit during a recent attack. The French teachers and their families were quickly flown out in a chartered aircraft.
This is the second major evacuation of foreigners from Phnom Penh. Last year many embassies flew dependents home when the United States ended its bombing missions over anti-government targets. At that time, there were fears of an immediate assault on the capital.