Butcher of the killing fields lines up with his Khmer Rouge officials

A CHILD clings to her mother's skirt as an official- looking group of men and women pose somewhere in Cambodia. Political experts have confirmed that the man in the centre, wearing a dark bush jacket, is Pol Pot, the notorious Khmer Rouge leader.

The photograph, believed to have been taken in western Cambodia near the Thai border, is stamped 1986. That would make it the most recent picture of the secretive despot, whose movement was responsible for the deaths of more than a million Cambodians when it held power from 1975 to 1978. With him, from left, are Son Sen, the Khmer Rouge defence minister, Khieu Samphan, the movement's nominal leader, Noun Chea, the former deputy general secretary, Yun Yath, wife of Son Sen, and Madame Khieng and Madame Saw Sae, both wives of senior Khmer Rouge officials.

The photograph, obtained by Reuters news agency, was found during the Cambodian government's recent assault on the Khmer Rouge headquarters in Pailin. The loss of the town is a serious blow to the group, which had been financing its insurgency from the area's gem mines and timber. Pol Pot's whereabouts is unknown, but he is believed to have taken refuge in Thailand.

(Photograph omitted)

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