Khmer Rouge chief out of a limb

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The Independent Online
ANLONG VENG, Cambodia (Reuter) - A government soldier (above) carries the artificial leg of the infamous Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok after the key northern base of Anlong Veng fell to a government army assault that began on 5 February. Khmer Rouge defenders fled the base in such haste that Ta Mok left his artificial limb behind. General Long Sopheap, the government army commander, said that the victory was the army's greatest military success since the holding of UN- organised elections last May.

Mean Sarin, the governor of the northern province of Preah Vihear, said the army's next objective would be to capture the strategic border pass of Phnom Chong Sun, north of the besieged Chom Khsan township. More than 3,000 government soldiers now occupy the Anlong Veng base, a former district seat 300km (190 miles) north-west of Phnom Penh. General Long Sopheap said 135 Khmer Rouge soldiers were killed in the assault and 149 wounded, while 26 were killed on the government side and 113 wounded. 'It's not only a big victory for our Royal Cambodian Armed Forces but it's also a victory for the international community,' the general said.

Ta Mok's villa, surrounded by bougainvillaeas and banana trees, was a charred ruin after the clash. The artificial leg found in his home was seized by officers as a prize war trophy and will be put on display in Phnom Penh. Ta Mok lost his leg to a landmine years ago.

(Photograph omitted)