Military General and Longtime KR Holdout Dies in Car Crash

Nuon Nov, who rose to major general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) after defecting from the Khmer Rouge in 1998, died in a car crash on the way to a meeting with Thai military officials near the border in Oddar Meanchey province on Friday, officials said.

Nuon Nov, 56, was driving in the Dangrek mountains when his Toyota Hilux pickup truck collided with another truck, sending both vehicles tumbling down a 20 meter valley and killing both him and his driver, according to Toch Ra, chief border liaison at the Choam-Sa Ngam international border checkpoint.

The driver of the other truck, which belonged to the Lim Heng Casino company, also died in the crash, he said.

“The traffic accident took place at 1:40 p.m., causing their death after both vehicles fell about 20 meters down the valley,” Mr. Ra said.

Nuon Nov, who was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general over the weekend, was among the final group of Khmer Rouge defectors from Anlong Veng, the regime’s final holdout in the country’s northwest.

Mr. Ra, who once served among the Khmer Rouge rebels, said that after joining the RCAF ranks, Nuon Nov remained a prominent local figure as a deputy military commander in the region.

“We lost a great leader in Anlong Veng district,” Mr. Ra said.

Nuon Nov, who is survived by his wife and two sons, will be buried in Anlong Veng’s Srah Chhuok pagoda Tuesday, he added.

Oddar Meanchey provincial police chief Men Ly said that Nuon Nov’s family and the casino company were negotiating compensation following the crash, but noted it would be difficult for police to decide who was at fault due to there being no surviving witnesses.

Nuon Nov is the second high-ranking military general—and former Khmer Rouge military figure—to die in recent months.

In August last year, Yim Phim, a Khmer Rouge rebel commander who went on to command an RCAF unit at Preah Vihear temple, died in a Bangkok hospital of an unknown illness.

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