Nine more people have been arrested in Battambang province in a government sweep of alleged Cambodian Freedom Fighters, adding to a crackdown on the rebel group that began more than a week ago with the arrest of 12 suspects.
The latest suspects appeared in Battambang district court Sunday to be charged with a violation of Articles 1 and 2 of state law and Article 36 of the Untac law—laws that deal with membership in an illegal armed group and terrorism.
Yann Yet, the prosecuting judge for Battambang District Court, said the suspects are all simple people with no official titles, disputing Funcinpec claims that at least some of the arrests were of their officials.
“Right now they are simple people, but some of them are former soldiers,” Yann Yet said.
The suspects appeared in court on Sunday because the court has a conflict today, the judge said.
Authorities issued an arrest warrant Friday for a 10th suspect, in Kampot province, but it was not clear if the man was in custody Sunday, sources said.
Police in Kampot said they had no information on the case.
Prince Norodom Sirivudh, Funcinpec secretary general, said the Battambang arrests include the Funcinpec vice chairman of the district and a member of the Funcinpec district council.
“It is premature to comment, but I hope that everything will go according to the legal aspects of the case,” he said Sunday.
Those arrested were Chan Chupsambath, 54; Vath Phally, 41; Kong Phearun, 30; and Chea Khean, 35, on Sept 12; Khlang Savouen, 38; So Saing, 52; Men Sopheap, 40; and Hang Nhorn, whose age was not available, on Sept 14; and Chan One, 32, on Saturday. They were arrested in Phnom Srok district in Battambang province, sources said.
A total of 23 people suspected of belonging to the CFF have been arrested since Sept 6, when the government began a crackdown it said was necessary to prevent a CFF attack.