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Cambodia: Major News Items, 5/15/96 - 5/22/96

Seventeen Killed In Massacre
Seventeen people, including fourteen ethnic Vietnamese, were killed when a group of about 20 gunmen attacked a fishing village on the edge of the Tonle Sap. Several other civilians were also injured. The attackers, believed to have been Khmer Rouge, also burned down several buildings. (Reuter, May 21; Xinhua, May 22.)

Prominent Journalist Assassinated
Thun Bunly, the editor and publisher of the anti-government newspaper "Odamktek Khmer" (Khmer Ideal) was shot and killed in Phnom Penh on May 18. Bunly was shot in the back three times while riding a motorcycle. The attack occured shortly before 11 AM. Bunly had been convicted in 1995 for insulting co-Premiers Hun Sen and Norodom Ranariddh. He was in the process of appealing the conviction. Ranariddh had previously said that he was willing to forgive Bunly, but Hun Sen insisted that legal proceedings be allowed to continue. The killing was denounced as "despicable and cowardly" by King Sihanouk. Several foreign diplomats, including US Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, condemned the assassination. Amnesty International called for an immediate investigation of the case. On May 22, tensions rose further when riot police blocked Bunly's funeral procession to prevent protestors from passing the National Assembly building and Hun Sen's house. Bunly is the fourth prominent journalist murdered since the completion of the UN mission, but no one has been convicted of any of the murders. (Reuter, May 18, May 21, May 22.)

KNP Opens Provincial Offices
Sam Rainsy's Khmer Nation Party opened it first offices outside Phnom Penh on May 18. The offices are located in Kompong Som province and Sihanoukville. Rainsy vowed to open more offices despite the "very clear sign of intimidation" demonstrated by the killing of Thun Bunly. Bunly was a member of the KNP's steering committee. (Maja Wallengren, Reuter, May 18.)

Annual "Day Of Hate" Ceremony
Several hundred people turned out on May 20 for the annual "Day of Hate" commemorating the victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide. The leadership of the Cambodian Peoples' Party, including Hun Sen, Heng Samrin, and Chea Sim -- themselves former Khmer Rouge -- were in attendence. (Reuter, May 20.)

Rail Link Proposed
Malaysian officials met with senior representatives of the Cambodian government in Phnom Penh to discuss building a trans-Asian railway. The railway would link Singapore to Kunming, China, by way of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. (Xinhua, May 21.)


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