General claims Pol Pot sighting in jungle camp
Monday 23 June 1997
General Nhiek Bun Chhay, who has been negotiating the handover of Pol Pot to government forces, said he had seen the reviled leader in person, being held under tight security at Anlong Veng, the guerrillas' remote jungle stronghold.
"Pol Pot is alive, I saw him this morning," the general said. "He looked old and not very well," he added.
There has been no independent confirmation of the sighting and General Nhiek Bun Chhay was unable to offer any evidence. But if true, say Phnom Penh observers, this is one of the first reported encounters with the elusive despot for more than a decade, dispelling confusing reports over Pot Pot's health and whereabouts.
Cambodia's two vying prime ministers, who have pledged to stand Pol Pot before an international war crimes tribunal once he is handed over by renegade Khmer Rouge fighters who turned against him, issued conflicting statements yesterday.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the country's senior leader, said Pol Pot was being brought to Phnom Penh alive. However. his co-premier, Hun Sen, later contradicted the assertion, saying that he understood that Pol Pot was already dead.
The confusion surrounding Pol Pot may be partly due to the remote location, in the thick jungles of Cambodia's north, where his loyal guerrillas were surrounded, and later captured, by 1,000 renegades, reportedly embittered by an internal purge of their movement.
But there is also growing concern that Cambodia's most senior politicians have been engineering unconfirmed reports of events, in an attempt to rehabilitate hated Khmer Rouge leaders who want to return to mainstream politics.
"Pressure on the government to produce Pol Pot, or evidence that he is alive or dead is growing by the day," said one diplomat.
"The whole world is watching for developments and if Cambodia's leaders can't come up with what they have promised, they stand to lose plenty of credibility."
- 1 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 4 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
Iran nuclear talks: Prospect of deal with Iran pushes Saudi Arabia and Israel into an unlikely alliance
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...
£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...
Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...