Cambodia's fifth-largest town, Kompong Chang, has become a virtual ghost town in the face of a threatened major Communist assault...
Cambodia's fifth-largest town, Kompong Chang, has become a virtual ghost town in the face of a threatened major Communist assault...Last week it was subjected to five successive nights of Viet Cong raids and fears are held that if the town should fall to the Communists it would effectively isolate the north-west of the country from Phnom Penh the capital.
Kompong Chang lies on Route Five 57 miles (91 Kms) north of Phnom Penh. The highway is said to be officially closed to traffic because of Communist activity, however a Visnews cameraman reached Kompong Chang at the weekend to find it almost deserted. Normally it has a population of 13 thousand. Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces ware believed at that time to be in hiding on the northern outskirts.
Cambodian soldiers are standing guard on rooftops, but the heat makes alertness difficult. The market has now closed down completely but the Viet Cong still manage to break into it to supplement their food supply.
Shops are also shuttered and the few remaining residents have locked themselves in their homes in fear of attack. It's believed at least 80 per cent of the population has fled, leaving the town little more than a poorly-equipped garrison in the care of anxious and uncertain troops.