Provincial police have arrested six alleged members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, including a suspected CFF chief of staff, continuing a crackdown that has so far netted more than two dozen arrests while fueling speculation the government is arresting Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party commune candidates and officials.
The six men were arrested in either the former Khmer Rouge strongholds of Malai district, Banteay Meanchey province, and Battambang province, or in the Funcinpec-controlled O’Smach district in Oddar Meanchey, officials said. One of the men arrested in Malai district was a chief in Mittapheap village, said RCAF General Mean Sarin.
So Sam An, deputy police chief for Battambang province, said police arrested Doung Ham, 54, the suspected CFF chief of staff, on Saturday. He said Doung Ham confessed that he was in charge of a CFF infantry unit assigned to destroy two bridges in Bavel district, authorities said.
Doung Ham was charged with terrorism and membership in an armed group over the weekend, Battambang provincial Judge Yann Yet said.
Authorities also arrested two suspected CFF members and confiscated four weapons in Mittapheap village, Malai district, on Sunday, Mean Sarin said.
However, Banteay Meanchey Governor Tharch Khorn and Banteay Meanchey Military Police Chief Roth Sreng said they did not receive any reports of CFF arrests in O’Smach and Malai districts.
Three other men were also arrested and accused of being in the CFF in O’Smach district on Saturday, Mean Sarin said.
Authorities did not provide any names for the two men arrested in Malai district, and did not identify the three men arrested in O’Smach district. But Mean Sarin confirmed all five were suspected of being CFF members.
Last week, Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party officials accused the CPP of using the CFF as a pretext to arrest opposition commune candidates or administrators.