Khmernews

“Angkar” Ordered Pulling Out Temple Stones To Build Water Gates and “Human” Furnaces

Posted by khmernews on February 7, 2008

Layum

Somroang—Oddar Meanchey: “Labeuk” temple has been damaged due to natural phenomenon and lack of protection. However, the biggest factor has been due to human activities in the 3 periods: Lon Nol’s regime, Pol Pot’s regime, and Cambodia’s civil war in the 90s.
“In Pol Pot regime, Angkar forced cadres and people labourers to build a dam and dig a big canal in Koun Kreal Commune,” Bunthoen Chhom, who is living over there, a survivor of Pol Pot’s regime and presently Koun Kreal Commune Chief, told Rakmei Kampuchea on January 12 that “The round and square water pipes and the water gates were built by using concrete mixed with stones from the ancient temple “Labeuk” near there,” he said.

“Pol Pot’s Angkar ordered cadres and workers to pull out the ancient stones and sandstones from “Labeuk” temple to use as one of the materials for making round and square water pipes at Labeuk dam and canal and Kra Nhoung dam,” he said, adding that that was why the most parts of the structure of the temple had been damaged and fallen down.

So Pho, 43, is a former young pioneer in Ktom cooperative in Koun Kreal commune, Somroang district, Siem Reap-Angkor. He is currently living in Ktom village, Koun Kreal commune. Near the water gate he told Rasmei Kampuchea January 11 that [during the Khmer Rouge regime] he, other young pioneers, teen team and base labourers in the first and second work team had been sent by Angkar to build a dam and dig a canal there and pull out ancient stones from the temple to make water gates.

“Some workers became disabled and server injured because stones collapsed on them, but no one was reported dead,” said So Pho. “However, some people died since they were forced to build the dam and dig the canal at Labeuk temple and Kra Nhoung canal which was 5 kilometres long surrounding there. Some were brought to be killed. The killings were made in the form of evacuation and “scapegoat accusation” on work and consciousness,” he said.

The man pointed to the rice fields and 4-5 mango trees on the dykes of the fields next to Labeuk irrigation system. The fields belonged to a family whose all members were killed by the Angkar’s militiamen. Since after 1979, there has been no relative of the family holding any ceremony for them at all. Husband Loy and his wife Mon with 3 daughters and 4 sons, who were the owners of the fields and mango trees left until the present were accused by the Angkar of feudalists and were evacuated to be killed in Somroang cooperative. The husband was the first to be sent away to be killed. He was told that he would go to live in a newly built home. One month later, the wife was also sent away, being told that she would go to live in a new home too. One month later, the children were also sent away by being told that their parents had lived in a new house, led new life and missed them so much, so they wanted their children to live with them. Those people had disappeared without trace since then.

The victims in Ktom cooperative who was lucky to survive the killings and have been living in their hometown until present said that Labeuk irrigation system and Kra Nhoung dam were constructed at the end of 1976 and early 1977 during the Democratic Kampuchea regime. The builders of these dam and canals were the base people whom Angkar gave relatively enough food to survive and to work. Angkar dared not to be too strict with them since they were afraid that the people would escape into the jungle and crossed from border and Dongrek Mountain into Thailand. However, the tricks of Angkar were to evacuate the base people into Siem Reap-Angkor and kill them in cooperative work sites and prisons.

They also said that Angkar appointed people to build 2 furnaces about 1.5 km to the east of Labeuk temple. Labeuk temple lies 2.5 km in the Southeast of Ktom village, Koun Kreal commune and more than 10 km northeast of Oddar Meanchey town (Somroang). Those crematoriums built in late 1978 were to cremate a dead person’s body because its feature was not like charcoal or brick factories. Moreover, some people had secretly been whispered by cadres about furnaces before they fled into jungle and then to Sorin province in Thailand.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 16, #4490, Wednesday, January 16, 2008.

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