The Khmer Nation Party (KNP) opened offices in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces

ចែករំលែក ៖​

Jan 20, 1997
By Rich Garella, The Cambodia Daily

BATTAMBANG - With protection provided by First Deputy Governor Serei Kosal, the Khmer Nation Party (KNP) opened eight offices Friday and Saturday in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

At the first office opening Friday on Battambang town’s riverfront, KNP President Sam Rainsy spoke to a crowd of about 200 supporters under the watchful gaze of about 20 heavily armed RCAF troops described in a KNP statement as “armed forces which support national independence, peace and democracy.”

Serei Kosal, Funcinpec’s outspoken top official in Battambang province, had been scheduled to take part in the late-morning ceremony, but did not attend.

Instead, Sam Rainsy and his entourage paid the deputy governor a visit at a house at the edge of Battambang town, where he was coordinating the movements of troops under his control.

After warmly greeting Sam Rainsy, Serei Kosal indicated that political tensions--which came to the boil late last year--are still running high. “We have to show that Funcinpec exists,” he told the group of KNP members and attending journalists.

Between rapid-fire bursts of orders to the RCAF officers standing around him, Serei Kosal decried the balance of power within the coalition government, saying that the coalition should be re-assessed. “If we have co-prime ministers, and co-ministers of defense, why not ‘co’ at all levels?”

Asked if he had received any instructions from Phnom Penh or from other provincial officials with regard to the KNP office openings, Serei Kosal said only: “No, I decide. Myself.”

Sam Rainsy’s group then traveled west on Route 5 to open two offices in Bavel and one in Samraoung. At each location, troops provided by Serei Kosal were stationed nearby during the blessing ceremonies and speeches.

Festivities and the erection of a KNP signboard were cut short at one Bavel office after reports that the owner of the house had been intimidated by unidentified agressors the night before, KNP steering committee member Tioulong Saumura said Sunday.

“He was a little scared. Instead we put the signboard on a smaller house off [Route 5],” she said.

Meanwhile, KNP Secretary-General Khieu Rada successfully opened four party offices in Banteay Meanchey on Friday and Saturday, added Tioulong Saumura, who is also the wife of Sam Rainsy. Escorted by a small contigent of Serei Kosal’s soldiers, the KNP opened two offices in the provincial capital of Svay Sisophon and one each in the towns of Ochreuv and Mongkol Borei.

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