Khmer Rouge shells kill peace marchers

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The Independent Online
PHNOM PENH (Reuter, AP) - Two people on a peace march in north-western Cambodia were killed by Khmer Rouge shelling on Saturday and nine others were briefly detained by the guerrilla forces, march organisers said yesterday.

A statement named the dead as a 67-year-old Buddhist monk, the Venerable Suy Sonn, and a nun, Yieychii Voeung, 55, both from nearby Battambang. Four marchers were wounded. The organisers earlier gave the death-toll as three. They said six foreigners and three Cambodians were detained by the Khmer Rouge but all were freed on Saturday.

Officials said that the leader of the march, the Buddhist monk Samdech Preah Maha Ghosananda, was not hurt. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring peace to Cambodia. They said about 800 people had joined in the march, including 400 monks, 200 nuns and 12 foreigners.

The foreign detainees were three Americans, two Australians and one Thai. 'Six foreigners and three Cambodians were briefly detained. After the leader of the DK (Khmer Rouge) established that these people were participants of the dhammayietra (peace march), they were released,' the Phnom Penh office of the march organisers, Ponleu Khmer, said.

According to the latest statement by the march organisers, the deaths occurred when marchers were caught in a firefight between government soldiers and Khmer Rouge guerrillas.

The statement said the Khmer Rouge had apologised for the casualties, saying they had no intention of harming the marchers.