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Cambodia: Major News Items, 4/29/96 - 5/7/96

Government General Killed
Lieutenant General In Sidare, a senior commander in the army of the Cambodian government, was killed when his armored vehicle was hit during a rocket attack near Pailin on April 30. Sidare was the commander of the fifth military region, which includes Pailin and the rest of Battambang province. He is the second high-ranking official to die in less than a month. Earlier, another general was killed by a landmine in Siem Reap province. (Xinhua, April 30.)

Mass Grave Found On Island
The bodies of 22 unidentified victims were found in a cave on an island off the coast of Koh Kong province in April. The bodies are believed to be either victims of bandits, or bandits executed by local security forces, or victims of politically-motivated killings. Local human rights groups and the United Nations plan to conduct independent investigations. (Tricia Fitzgerald, UPI, April 29.)

Guerrillas Near Phnom Penh?
In late April the government dispatched 150 police and soldiers to search for suspected Khmer Rouge guerrillas who had been sighted less than 20 kilometers from Phnom Penh. Villagers north of the capital reported seeing an estimated 50 guerrillas, but no attacks were reported. A spokeman for the Ministry of Defense said that the soldiers had disappeared into the forest. (Tricia Fitzgerald, UPI, April 30.)

Parliamentarians Discuss Nationality Issue
A proposal by Hun Sen that candidates for parliamentary office should hold only Cambodian citizenship drew fire from several opposition politicians. Co-Premier Norodom Ranariddh, who holds dual French and Cambodian nationality, was among those arguing against the measure. Several of those opposed to the proposal argued that it would divide the country and discourage skilled and educated overseas Khmer from returning to Cambodia. (Reuter, April 29.)

Party Registration Requirement Rescinded
On May 3, co-premier Hun Sen lifted a widely-criticized measure which required that all political parties register with the Interior Ministry. The directive, which had been issued on April 19, had ordered the offices of all but the four largest political parties closed until they re-registered with the government. (Reuter, May 3.)

Legal Prostitution?
Officials in Phnom Penh are considering a proposal to set up special districts in the capital where prostitution will be legalized and taxed by the government. Aid agencies estimate that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 prostitutes in the city. (Chhay Sophal, Reuter, May 1.)

Hun Sen (Slightly) Injured By Sihanouk Bodyguard
One of King Sihanouk's North Korean bodyguards collided with Hun Sen on April 5, injuring Hun Sen's arm. The incident occured as Sihanouk's bodyguards rushed to surround the King. The injury left the co-premier temporarily unable to move his left arm below the elbow. (AFP, April 7.)


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