The Washington Times
SATURDAY JUNE 14, 1997
Genocidal Pol Pot on run In Cambodia
Had chief executioner and family killed
PHNOM PENH, CambodiaKhmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who slaughtered up to 2 million people in the 1970s, turned on his chief executioner, having him killed along with the official's wife, children and grandchildren before fleeing into the jungle along the Thai border, a Cambodian leader said yesterday.
Pol Pot was holed up approximately 12 miles east of Anlong Veng in rough jungle terrain with 250 to 300 fighters and their families, Reuters news agency reports. He was holding right-hand man Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's nominal leader, Khieu Samphan, and northern commander, Ta Mok, as hostages.
In the few days ahead, first, Pol Pot can lay down his arms. Second, Pol Pot can kill all of his leaders and then kill himself, the deputy chief of the general staff, Nhek Bunchhay, said at a press conference.
He said 1,000 rebel troops from five divisions have broken with Pol Pot and are surrounding him, and added that Thailand had sealed its border and was cooperating with Cambodian authorities.
He produced a photograph that he said showed the dead bodies of Khmer Rouge defense chief Son Sen, his wife, Yun Yat and other family members said to have been murdered by Pol Pot this week. The ailing Pol Pot, ordered the killing of top commander Son Sen, the man known as the movement's chief executioner during its genocidal heyday.
Several of Son Sen's grandchildren reportedly had their skulls run over by a truck, said Cambodian government officials who had been holding peace talks with some of the rebels. It was, some might argue, a fitting end for Son Sen, a sinister figure who oversaw the gruesome purges of the ultraradical movement he and Pol Pot helped found in their student days in France in the 1950s.
During the Khmer Rouge's hideous reign from 197S-79, Son Sen ran Tuol Sleng, a secondary school converted into a prison, where an estimated 20,000 "enemies of the state" were tortured before being killed in a nearby field.
After Tuesday's slaying of Son Sen, Pol Pot's other top commander, Ta Mok, was reported to have turned against him, fearing a similar fate.
Pol Pot fled the group's last major stronghold, Anlong Veng, in northern Cambodia, officials said. Khmer Rouge guerrillas who have been negotiating with the government were reportedly trying to block his escape and had set up checkpoints in the jungle.
The rebel group's latest fracturing was apparently triggered by progress in peace talks with members of the rebel group, negotiations in which Pol Pot has not taken part. The government last week announced headway in efforts to end 20 years of civil war and drive Pol Pot into exile.
Cambodia's co-prime ministers, rivals in the coalition government, have been vying for the loyalties of defecting guerrillas before national elections next year.
One of the two, First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh, told reporters yesterday that Pol Pot fled
Anlong Veng with 200 loyalist | guerrillas and some hostages. The I hostages reportedly - included Khieu Samphan, the nominal president of the Khmer Rouge, believed to be among the leaders who had been negotiating with the government.
Before leaving they destroyed parts of their camp, including the group's clandestine radio station. Pol Pot was heading east for Preah Vihear temple, a Khmer Rouge outpost on the border with Thailand, Prince Ranariddh said.
Guerrillas in the group's north- i em redoubt who have broken with l the leadership and are backing peace efforts were trying to intercept their former leader.
"Ninety-five percent of the armed forces in Anlong Veng are determined to join the royal government and are now surrounding Pol Pot ' he said.
One of the government's negotiators, Long Sarin, said it appeared that Ta Mok had rallied his troops to chase Pol Pot.
Prince Ranariddh said his military commanders told him that Pol Pot, who according to recent reports is in steeply declining health, cannot walk, although the commanders did not reveal details on his illness.
Nhek Bunchhay requested that ammunition be sent to arm the government's new allies among the I guerrillas, Prince Ranariddh said.
The prince said Pol Pot's men shot Son Sen, the group's former defense minister and security chief, early Tuesday morning.
A government deputy commander in the northwest said intercepted rebel radio transmissions confirmed that there had been combat among the guerrilla factions.