Fear grows of attack on Phnom Penh: UN says Khmer Rouge cannot stop poll, but rural voters are at risk and fighters have infiltrated Cambodian capital

THE Phnom Penh government deployed troops and armoured cars in the Cambodian capital yesterday amid growing fears that the Khmer Rouge, which is boycotting next week's election, will stage attacks in and around the city.

Soldiers with machine-guns and rocket launchers spread out along the Mekong River shore in Phnom Penh, and armoured cars were parked at important intersections. 'The Khmer Rouge have threatened that they will at all costs launch an attack . . . We want to prevent a Khmer Rouge attack aimed at sabotaging the polls,' the Prime Minister, Hun Sen, said on Cambodian state radio.

Although Phnom Penh has escaped most of the violence plaguing the country in the run-up to the United Nations-organised election, rumours abound that the Khmer Rouge has been infiltrating the capital. At least one UN official is reported to have been forced at gunpoint to carry guerrillas into the city, and UN officers at Phnom Penh's Pochentong airport said there was concern that the Khmer Rouge might try to attack Cambodia's main international link.

At the weekend, suspected Khmer Rouge fighters fired several rockets and mortar rounds at Siem Reap airport in the north-west, less than two weeks after the guerrillas mounted a big attack on the town.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary-General, said last week there were strong indications that the Khmer Rouge, which killed more than a million Cambodians when it held power in the late 1970s, would try to use violence to disrupt the election. He conceded that it would not be held in the 'neutral political environment' the UN was supposed to ensure under the 1991 Paris peace accords.

The Australian commander of the 16,000-strong UN peacekeeping forces, Lieutenant-General John Sanderson, said the Khmer Rouge was not capable of stopping the poll, 'provided everybody maintains their commitment', but warned that his men could not safeguard rural voters away from the polling stations. 'I'll make the point that security of the people and security of their passage to the polls is the responsibility of the (Cambodian) factions,' he said.

Twenty parties are participating in the election, which takes place over six days, starting on Sunday. Campaigning ends tomorrow, in the hope of reducing the danger of violence. Many UN officials fear, however, that voters will be caught between the two factions with the arms - the Khmer Rouge and the Hun Sen government, installed after the Vietnamese invasion in 1978. Support for the royalist party, known as Funcinpec, is ebbing as Phnom Penh intimidates its workers and uses the climate of violence, for much of which it is responsible, to claim that it is the only force capable of preventing a return by Pol Pot's movement. The government sought to reinforce this message yesterday when a Kampuchea Airways plane showered Phnom Penh with leaflets warning: 'A vote for Funcinpec is a vote for the Khmer Rouge, and supports their return to power.'

Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
McKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
News
news
News
peopleCampaign 'to help protect young people across the world'
Life and Style
tech

News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
i100
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + ?110 - 130: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker