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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cambodian Dissident Vows To Fight On Despite Attack

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodian dissident Sam Rainsy vowed Monday to pursue his crusade against government corruption, a day after a grenade attack killed at least 16 people at a demonstration he had organized.


Cambodia's two prime ministers agreed to create an independent commission into Sunday's attack outside the national assembly, where supporters of Rainsy's Khmer Nation Party had gathered.


"We do not want Cambodia to be a killing fields again," said Ly Thuch, Cabinet director for First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh who proposed the commission.


Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, who called for the arrest of the grenade throwers and the leaders of the demonstration, agreed to the proposal, according to a letter he sent to the prince.


At least three grenades were thrown at the 200 demonstrators in front of the parliament building, killing at least 16 people, including two children and one of Rainsy's bodyguards. Some 119 people were wounded.


The U.S. government called for action over the attack. "We call on the government of Cambodia to take necessary steps to bring to justice those responsible for this unacceptable attack," acting State Department spokesman John Dinger said in Washington.


Among the injured were several journalists covering the event, including the correspondent for China's official Xinhua news agency and two Cambodian reporters working for Japan's Kyodo News Service and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.


"We do not want Cambodia to be listed [among] the most dangerous countries in the world," Ly Thuch said while visiting the wounded in hospitals on behalf of Prince Ranariddh. "We cannot let Cambodia return to the past."


Rainsy, who accused Hun Sen of orchestrating the attack, said he had little faith the inquiry commission would establish the guilty parties.