Khmer Rouge kill 22 in attack on village in central Cambodia

CHHANOK TRU, Cambodia (AP) — The Khmer Rouge killed 22 ethnic Vietnamese in a deadly strike far from their home base that demonstrated the guerrilla group’s power to terrorize in the runup to nationwide elections.
The Interior Ministry blamed the attack on Khmer Rouge guerrillas seeking to derail elections called for July 26 by Cambodian leader Hun Sen, whom they consider a pro-Vietnamese puppet.
The Khmer Rouge detest Vietnam, Cambodia’s historic enemy. Before the last national elections in 1993, Khmer Rouge guerrillas killed more than 100 ethnic Vietnamese and forced thousands of others from their homes.
Hun Sen called new elections in an attempt to restore international legitimacy and foreign aid cut off after he deposed his co-premier, Prince Norodom Ranariddh. The prince is participating, a condition set by foreign countries.
The Khmer Rouge has been in decline for several years, and is now a loose alliance of armed bands. Such groups are part of the Khmer Rouge military and political structure, but in practice are often little more than bandits.
The core group and the top Khmer Rouge leaders are headquartered in the northern town of Anlong Veng, but reportedly maintain command links with the roving groups of fighters.
Pol Pot led the genocidal regime that caused the deaths of as many as 2 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979 through forced labor, illness and systematic execution. After being toppled by an invasion from Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge battled successive Phnom Penh governments.