Khmer Government troops retook the battered township of Siem Reap on Monday (26 February) just outside Phone Phen.
SV & CU Troops advance across fields (5 shots)
SV A.P.C.'s moving forward (2 shots)
LV Troops running across field
LV & SV Troops re-occupy garrison (5 shots)
LV PAN Wreckage in village
SV Troops walk through wreckage
SV PAN Soldiers wheeling machinegun
SV PAN Troops walk down highway
TS Police convoy tours streets
LV Military police searching shop
SV Arrested soldier on back of truck surrounded by M.P.s
TRAVEL SHOT Troops sit in army cars
TRACKING SHOT Vehicle takes arrested soldier into station
TRACKING SHOT PAST Closed & shuttered shops (2 shots)
LV & SV Army trucks and troops walk into station (2 shots)
Initials BB/2233 TS/MR/BB/2357
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Background: Khmer Government troops retook the battered township of Siem Reap on Monday (26 February) just outside Phone Phen. The township is only nine miles south of the city boundary. It was abandoned by its garrison on Friday (23 February), and it virtually became a no-man's land between the opposing front lines.
The Khmer forces encountered no opposition. They sent a platoon, then they called in armoured personnel carries. But the local residents had long since gone, either as refugees, or to the communist lines as hostages.
This activity, however, may be among the last by the Khmer forces before some sort of revolt. Sources close to the men say that Phnom Penh is under almost constant threat of troop revolt. Three months ago, the men threatened to walk out because of spiralling rice prices which led them to loot shops at gunpoint. This time, it's because many of them haven't been paid for more than four months.
Phnom Penh itself is tense. Most of its shops are closed because of the fears of armed looting.
SYNOPSIS: The little township of Sien Reap was finally re-taken on Monday by Khmer Government troops. The battered town is nine miles south of Phnom Penh, and when the troop took it, it was a deserted no-man's land.
The Khmer forces followed an advance platoon with armoured personnel carriers which took up positions inside the village.
But when the troops searched the village, the inhabitants had long since gone. They'd gone either to Phnom Penh as refugees or to the Communist lines as hostages. The town's garrison abandoned their posts on Friday and within twenty-four hours, the town apparently became deserted.
The Khmer forces moved their weapons to strategic sites around the village cross-roads, knowing that the communist would be only a few miles away in ideal country for guerrilla warfare.
In Phonom Penh itself, the Khmer troops are again threatening revolt. It's their second such threat in three months. The last time, it was because of spiralling rice prices which led many soldiers to loot shops at gunpoint. This time though, it's because of a pay crisis. Many of the men haven't been paid for more than four months.
Miliary police are now stepping up their patrols in Phnom Penh. On Monday, several soldiers stole food from city shops, and there have been reports of a whole battalion defecting to the communist side because of the holdup in wage payments. Phnom Penh itself is now tense, with most of the shops closed. There are still fears of armed looting and people aren't taking chances.
Nobody's suggested a solution to the crisis facing the Khmer Republic....the only remaining Indo-China country hasn't reached a peace settlement.