The war in the Khmer Republic has been sweeping closer to the heart to the capital, Phnom Penh, this week.
The war in the Khmer Republic has been sweeping closer to the heart to the capital, Phnom Penh, this week. By Monday (January 28), the suburbs of the city had been battered for four nights running by Communist insurgent artillery fire.
Sunday's barrage had been the heaviest so far. More than 185 rounds of captured United States-made shells smashed into a housing area near President Lon Nol's private residence killing 30 people and wounding another 70.
Son on the following day, many people were abandoning their homes in the suburbs and fleeing from this new threat. Some were going to stay with relatives in other parts of the capital, others sought shelter in Buddhist pagodas. Those with nowehre to go slept in the streets of the city centre.
Many of those remaining were building bunkers beneath their homes as a refuge from future attacks. Government troops have taken to patrolling the area to discourage looting of abandoned homes and to reassure the people staying on.
On the outskirts, too, security police have stepped up their checkpoint duties, in an effort to prevent illegal weapons being smuggled in. Care and even army lorries are checked. One diligent guard had even searched a water melon -- and found a grenade concealed inside.