CFF Leader Vows Coup if Vote Is Unfair

US-based rebel group the Cam­bo­dian Freedom Fighters is currently organizing an armed force to overthrow the government if the upcoming national elections prove to be laden with corruption and deceit, confessed CFF leader Chhun Yasith said last week, echoing claims made in the past.

Comparing the CFF to the US-led force that defeated the government of former Iraqi leader Sad­dam Hussein, Chhun Yasith said in a June 16 e-mail that “the CFF won’t do any civil damage except overthrow the entire Hun Sen regime.”

“Before and during the election, CFF won’t do anything against” the government, stated Chhun Yasith, an accountant in Long Beach, in California state. “If there is a fraud [election], then the CFF has plans. Now, the CFF is preparing its armed forces and network agents to be ready to overthrow the fraud elected power lovers.”

This is not the first time that Chhun Yasith, once called “delusional” by an official at the US Em­bas­sy, has threatened to topple the government. During the 2002 com­mune elections, he stated an armed rebel force would oust Prime Minister Hun Sen from power. No such action took place.

Although the government has continued to blame the CFF for mi­nor disturbances in the country, such as the Siem Reap bomb plot in December, the group has not been officially active since Nov 24, 2000, when an about 60 armed forces stormed into Phnom Penh and shot AK-47s and fired rockets at the Ministry of Rural Develop­ment and the Ministry of Defense. The Nov 24 coup attempt left at least four people dead.

“I think the communist-styled government still pays attention to the CFF since [it] arrested [members] in Siem Reap,” Chhun Yasith said.

Although the US Federal Bu­reau of Investigation has had many inquiries about the CFF recently by the media, it can neither confirm nor deny any investigation into the group or into Chhun Yasith, said Laura Bosley, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, on Tuesday.

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