Police and military in Koh Kong province have detained seven suspected members of the outlawed Cambodian Freedom Fighters who were reportedly shipping weapons into the province for a planned attack, officials said on Tuesday.
Eleven men were initially arrested Wednesday on suspicion of involvement with the US-based CFF, which captured public attention in November 2000 when dozens of poorly armed men launched a fruitless attack on two government buildings in Phnom Penh. Several rebels were killed and 11 police officers were wounded during the fighting. Hundreds of suspected CFF members were later arrested, and almost 100 were sentenced to hefty prison terms for involvement in the group that has sworn to topple Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
“What I have heard from the reports of officials, they could be charged with terrorism,” Tep Sokhom, deputy prosecutor of Koh Kong province court, said on Tuesday.
“I heard some of them are former soldiers,” he said. The seven will be charged in court today.
Chhay Sinarith, head of the Interior Ministry’s intelligence-gathering Information Department, said Tuesday that people should not fear a CFF attack. “There is no” threat of attack, he said.
A human rights worker in the province said Tuesday that the seven suspects were detained at RCAF sub-military region headquarters in Koh Kong.
“Officials told me that they planned to carry out an attack against the province on Nov 5 and Nov 6…. They told me that they had confiscated one boat loaded with weapons,” the worker said.
Koh Kong sub-military region Commander Yun Ngim said Tuesday that the seven have been detained. He declined to reveal further details about the case.
Last Wednesday, Phnom Penh military police officials said that two suspected CFF members were charged with the killing of Municipal Court Judge Sok Sethamony, who was gunned down in April.