CNN logo
Message Boards 

CNN Networks 

Quick News 
Video Vault 
News Quiz 

Pathfinder/Warner Bros

Barnes and Noble

Election Watch grfk

Q & A

World banner

Faster access in Asia

King Sihanouk returns to Cambodia from China

Cambodia claims rebel base retaken

April 11, 1998
Web posted at: 2:35 p.m. EDT (1835 GMT)

SIEM REAP, Cambodia (CNN) -- King Norodom Sihanouk returned to his homeland from China on Saturday, amid claims by government forces that Khmer Rouge guerrillas were retreating in northern parts of Cambodia.

Sihanouk was accompanied by his wife, Queen Monineath, and greeted in the northern town of Siem Reap by acting head of state and National Assembly President Chea Sim and other government officials.

"I am very happy to meet you here," the king said after stepping off the plane.

The 75-year-old king maintains a small palace in Siem Reap. The town is home to the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia's most important national symbol.

Sihanouk had spent three months in China for medical treatment. "Very good," the king replied when asked about his health.

Small groups of people stood by the road and waved as Sihanouk was driven from the airport to his palace in the center of town.

General predicts Khmer Rouge demise

Meanwhile, there has been a prolonged battle for control of the Khmer Rouge base at Anlong Veng, about 80 miles north of Siem Reap.

Cambodian soldiers  

Gen. Meas Sophea, army deputy chief of staff, said Anlong Veng was recaptured by pro-government forces Tuesday, and guerrillas loyal to Khmer Rouge leader Ta Mok were retreating to the Dongrek Mountains.

"The end of the Khmer Rouge is very near," Meas Sophea predicted.

Guerrillas who mutinied nearly three weeks ago against Ta Mok to protest his allegedly brutal rule were being supported by government troops in pursuing him.

Meas Sophea said attempts were being made to persuade the 200 fighters still with Ta Mok to switch sides.

Army commanders said Ta Mok was also backed by 500 fighters loyal to Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Sihanouk's son who was deposed as co-premier in a coup last July. The prince and the fighters have a common enemy in Cambodia's current leader, Hun Sen.

Ranariddh was allowed to return from exile last week to start preparing for July 26 elections and plans to travel to Siem Reap to consult with his father.

Sihanouk wants Pol Pot brought to trial

Ta Mok toppled Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot a year ago and placed him under house arrest. Under Pol Pot's leadership, as many as 2 million Cambodians perished from forced labor, disease and systematic executions between 1975 and 1979.

The Anlong Veng rebels are the last Khmer Rouge faction that has not made peace with the government.

A Cambodian newspaper quoted Sihanouk as saying he would support U.S. efforts to bring Pol Pot to trial. Sihanouk had been held prisoner by Pol Pot, and several members of his family died under his rule.

"Pol Pot is one of the most horrible monsters ever created by humanity," Sihanouk told the Cambodian Daily. "He deserves to be judged and condemned by an international court of justice."


Related stories:

Related sites:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Infoseek search  

Message Boards Sound off on our
message boards & chat

Back to the top

© 1998 Cable News Network, Inc.
A Time Warner Company
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.