As a result a visit by South Vietnamese officials to a refugee camp outside phnom Penh on Saturday ( October 3), South Vietnam has requested an official Cambodian investigation into the alleged bombing and strafing of Vietnamese civilians in the Battambang Province in northwest Cambodia.
GV street PAN TO refugee camp
GV refugees in camp
SV officials entering camp
SV & CU Cambodian officer and MP's question refugees (8 shots)
GV & SV another official talking to refugees
CU refugees (2 shots)
GV refugees with officials
Initials LN/BOB/BJ/1751 LN/BOB/BJ/1804
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Background: As a result a visit by South Vietnamese officials to a refugee camp outside phnom Penh on Saturday ( October 3), South Vietnam has requested an official Cambodian investigation into the alleged bombing and strafing of Vietnamese civilians in the Battambang Province in northwest Cambodia.
The move follows allegations by Vietnamese refugees from the bog fishing community of Bak Prea that the village was bombed and strafed by six unmarked aircraft on September 13.
Colonel To Van Kiem, chief of the South Vietnamese military mission in Cambodia requested the Cambodian Armed Forced Command to make the investigation.
The refugees alleged that the aircraft continued to attack them as they fled south by sampan. They said that many people, including women and children, were killed over a three-day period.
Descriptions of the incidents were given to Vietnamese and Cambodian officials by the 400 Bak Prea refugees who are now in the camp outside the capital They said they did not know that had happened to hundreds of other villagers who also fled southwards.
Major Am Rong, spokesman for the Cambodian High Command, said on Friday that he knew nothing about the incident. On Saturday he issued a statement at a military briefing concerning the village of Bak Prea because he said there were inaccurate reports of what had occurred.
The Major said that on September 14 there was a "rather fierce skirmish" in the Bak Prea area as Cambodian troops began an operation to clear out a region reported to contain North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces. As a result of the operation the Cambodians suffered some casualties and an unknown number of guerrillas were killed. Major Am Rong told reporters there were no civilian casualties but he later amended this to "a few wounded."
The Major said that it had not been possible to warn villagers of possible bombing, and added that he was not permitted to describe the type of operation undertaken at Bak Prea. When asked if aircraft other than Cambodian had also taken part in the operation, he declined to comment.
Cambodian information Minister Keuk Ky Lim said on Friday ???at he knew nothing about the refugees' allegations apart from what he had been told by a correspondent. He said that Cambodian officials would investigate the matter.
Observers believe the incident may cause at least a temporary coolness in Saigon-Phnom Penh relations, which have been slowly ???mproving since the massacres of Vietnamese civilians in Cambodia in April.