Pol Pot `held' in offensive against Khmer Rouge captured in Thailand

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The Independent Online
SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AP) - A senior Cambodian government general claimed yesterday that Pol Pot, the former leader of the Khmer Rouge, had been captured inside Thailand.

Television reports said that Ta Mok, who toppled Pol Pot a year ago and placed him under house arrest, had also been captured. Under Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime, as many as 2 million Cambodians died from forced labour, disease and systematic executions between 1975 and 1979.

General Meas Sophea said they had been placed under house arrest in Ba Sa-Ngam, about a kilometre inside Thailand in a mountainous part of the north-east, fairly close to the Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng.

The reports come come just one day after the Cambodian government said its troops had captured a key Khmer Rouge rebel base.

Khmer Rouge guerrillas who staged a mutiny nearly three weeks ago against Ta Mok to protest against his allegedly brutal rule were being supported by Cambodian government troops in pursuing him.

Cambodia's King Sihanouk made a low-key return to his homeland after spending three months in China. He was quoted by a Cambodian newspaper as having thrown his support behind a US plan to bring Pol Pot to justice for crimes against humanity. The king's arrival in Siem Reap, near the Angkor ruins, came amid a prolonged battle for control of the Khmer Rouge's Anlong Veng base about 80 miles away.