FBI urged to renew probe of grenade attack

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy called yesterday for the FBI to renew its investigation into a grenade attack that killed at least 16 people more than a decade ago.

Sam Rainsy addressed supporters outside Parliament, where exactly 11 years ago four grenades were hurled into a crowd of anti-government protesters, wounding at least 120 people, including a US citizen.

Despite the Cambodian government's insistence that the case is still open, no one has been arrested in connection with the bloody attack.

'I not only appeal to the FBI to renew their investigation, but also appeal to the FBI to reveal the result of their past investigations,' he said.

'Eleven years have passed ... but the truth has not yet been shown.'

The FBI opened an investigation into the attack after American citizen Ron Abney - who at the time was country director of the US-funded group the International Republican Institute - was seriously wounded by shrapnel.

But the investigation was hampered by unco-operative Cambodian government officials and became quickly bogged down.

In a statement read out at yesterday's gathering, Mr Abney echoed calls for a thorough investigation. 'Every year we call on the Cambodian government to investigate.'

Human rights groups have accused Prime Minister Hun Sen's bodyguards of throwing the grenades - a charge he has repeatedly denied.

Sam Rainsy had also accused Hun Sen of masterminding the attack, but the opposition leader recanted after his return in 2006 from self-imposed exile in France, where he had fled to avoid being imprisoned for defaming the prime minister.