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Agence France Presse – How Hun Sen Reacted to Grenade Attack

PHNOM PENH, March 30 [1997] (AFP) – Cambodia's Second Prime Minister Hun Sen called Sunday for the arrest of the leaders of an anti-government demonstration which was attacked by grenades killing at least 11 people and wounding at least 119. He also called for police to track down the attackers who threw at least three grenades into the demonstration but indicated that the protest leaders bore responsibility for the crime as well.

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“I wish to appeal to all armed forces and the authorized people to conduct an investigation immediately in order to arrest the criminals and to find out and arrest the leaders of the demonstration that caused people to die,” Hun Sen said in a radio address.  
 
Hun Sen did not name prominent dissident Sam Rainsy, whose unrecognized opposition Khmer Nation Party (KNP) organized the demonstration, but said he had ordered the interior ministry to prevent Cambodians with dual nationality who may have been involved in the demonstration, from leaving the country.  
 
“I have ordered (chief of national police) General Hok Longdy to close Pochentong International Airport and not allow any planes to carry people suspected of (organizing) the demonstration,” he said. Sam Rainsy, who holds both Cambodian and French passports, said he considered the comments to refer to him and challenged Hun Sen, the powerful vice-president of the formerly communist Cambodian People's Party (CPP), to arrest him. He said he was planning to leave the country on a previously scheduled trip to the United States on April 7 and dared Hun Sen to arrest him before.  
 
“I have no intention to change my plan,” he said. “I am leaving on the seventh. I urge Hun Sen to come to arrest me before the seventh.” Sam Rainsy, who has alleged that Hun Sen and the CPP were behind the attack, said accusations that the KNP bore responsibility for the carnage were totally false noting that they had received permission from the Phnom Penh municiple government to hold it.  
 
“We had permission, how can we be blamed for these deaths?” Sam Rainsy said. “It is very cynical.”

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