Khmer-Krom: Suspected Involvement in Terrorist Plot
Cambodian authorities said Thursday they were still seeking an unspecified number of suspected terrorists after foiling an apparent attempted plot to bomb the capital's upcoming Water Festival.
The claims came after authorities announced they had already arrested and were now holding six men at an undisclosed location after charging them with terrorism-related offences.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said he could give few details regarding the ongoing investigation, except to say that the men in detention were not the ringleaders.
More than 1.5 million people are expected to stream into the capital for the annual festival starting Saturday, which features three days of boat races presided over by King Norodom Sihamoni and celebrates the end of the monsoon season. This year boats from
"We are still seeking the ringleaders," General Sopheak said by telephone, urging calm. "The actual plan looks like a fantasy. The Khmer Rouge had a stronger system than this and we broke them."
He said all the men except one were members of the Kampuchea Krom ethnic group and all had previous criminal records as petty thieves and cattle rustlers and were likely just the tools of more organized leaders. He declined to comment on local media reports that at least one other suspect had fled into neighbouring
Sopheak also declined to comment on the methods, targets or motives police suspected in connection with the alleged planned attacks until further investigations had been conducted.
The men were arrested Tuesday in a sweep which covered the
Police sources speculated that the group may have been attempting to disrupt the festival to protest
The term Kampuchea Krom literally translates as "Khmer from below," referring to the lower areas of the Mekong Delta where the majority of the indigenous ethnic Khmer minority live in southern
The Kampuchea Krom areas were awarded to
Kampuchea Krom groups have repeatedly called for independence from
The arrests come six years after the November 2000 attempted coup by members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighter (CFF) terrorist movement, but authorities said there was nothing to indicate that the two groups were linked in any way.