Cambodian Freedom Fighters chief Chhun Yasith has claimed in an e-mail that his group had nothing to do with a bomb that rattled the gates of the Vietnamese Embassy on the eve of New Year celebrations in Phnom Penh.
The blast on Monivong Boulevard injured a guard standing across the street when a piece of shrapnel pierced his leg. No one has been arrested for the attack.
“If CFF wants to attack we will attack the Vietnamese puppets (currently the entire Cambodian government) as whole country liberation, not just only foreign embassy,” he wrote.
The CFF, which launched a failed attack on the Defense Ministry last November that left as many as eight dead, would also warn people if they launched an attack, as he claimed they did with the November raid.
“CFF never aim to attack the foreign embassies,” he said. “CFF did not perform any actions during Khmer New Year at all.” He implied that “Communist Dictators” planned the event for their own political purposes.
“I am still remaining CFF’s principle and mission as before which means that CFF did not bomb the Vietnamese Embassy at all,” he said.
Meanwhile, CFF members in Thailand since the uprising are “doing fine,” a spokesman for the US-based group said in a separate e-mail.
“We have people who protect them. They are safe and sound,” said Kia Dee, from Long Beach, in the US state of California.
It’s not known how many CFF members have sought refuge in Thailand or if they have been given refugee status by the UN High Commission for Refugees. A spokesperson for the UNHCR has declined to comment, citing confidentiality issues.
Kia Dee declined to give specifics about the number and location of CFF members in Thailand.
“We try to keep it under low profile. We can’t really let people know where they are,” he said.
The Cambodian government has sought the extradition of suspected CFF members to face criminal charges for the November raid, during which CFF members engaged government soldiers in a running gun battle. Several suspects were arrested and others fled.
Thailand’s ambassador to Cambodia has said he agrees with the Cambodian government that the CFF suspects living in Thailand should be considered “terrorists.”
A new extradition treaty between Cambodian and Thailand signed last month conceivably could be used to forcibly repatriate CFF members, since it was designed to catch suspects wanted for serious crimes.
Asked if he thought the treaty would affect the CFF, Kia Dee said: “At this point, no.”