Grenade Blast Injures Two Funcinpec Officials in Kampot

Two Funcinpec district officials were injured, one seriously, when a grenade rigged to a booby trap exploded at Banteay Meas district offices in Kampot province Monday.

Sin Neang, 56, the deputy district governor, suffered a broken shin and shrapnel injur­ies to his stomach and neck, while a second official, Ouch Sothy, 38, received more serious shrapnel wounds to the forehead, police said.

A motive for the attack is not yet known, but In Chiva, Kampot province deputy police chief, denied Monday that the blast was politically motivated.

Kampot Governor Puth Chan­da­rith, a Funcinpec member, said Monday he was keeping an open mind regarding reasons for the attack but that the chief priority was finding those responsible.

The explosion took place at 8:40 am when Sin Neang opened the door to his office, triggering what police say was a grenade booby trap.

Sin Neang was left unconscious, but it was Ouch Sothy, who was standing behind him, who suffered more serious head injuries, In Chiva said.

Both men were admitted to the provincial hospital, although Ouch Sothy was scheduled to be transferred to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh on Monday afternoon, In Chiva said.

“It may be a personal dispute,” said In Chiva, who rejected outright the possibility of a political basis for the attack.

The provincial governor was more guarded.

“We are trying to find out what happened. We cannot say it was a [personal] fight with somebody or politics because we don’t know. We are trying to find out,” Puth Chandarith said.

“We don’t know [the motive], but our main aim is to find out who did this,” he said.

Puth Chandarith said authorities investigating the blast have some clues as to the identity of the culprits, but he would not divulge further details.

Human rights investigators said on Monday they were also investigating the incident.

The explosion comes at a time of heightened political tension between Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP and Funcinpec, which joined with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. The parties’ new Alliance of Democrats helped force a political standoff following the July 27 general election by refusing to join a new coalition government led by Hun Sen.

Both Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party boycotted the first meeting of the new National Assembly on Saturday, which was attended solely by the CPP. Their absence prevented the swearing-in of the new parliament.

King Norodom Sihanouk has since summoned parliamentarians from all three parties to attend a ceremony on Saturday night that will see them sworn in to the new Assembly. The three parties have indicated they will attend at the King’s request.


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