Khmer Rouge rebels, regrouping after being driven from their headquarters in Cambodia near the Thai border, destroyed Vietnamese-held ammunition dumps and ambushed a supply convoy in Cambodia on Saturday.
Vietnamese troops, having overrun nearly every major rebel base in the country, turned their attention to the remaining Khmer Rouge hideouts in mountainous southwestern Cambodia.
Prince Norodom Sihanouk, former Cambodian head of state and now head of the coalition Cambodian government in exile, urged China to attack Vietnam's northern frontier to relieve pressure on the beleaguered rebels.
"The Vietnamese, they understand only the language of force," Sihanouk said Friday at a meeting of foreign business executives in the Thai beach resort of Pattaya. "Unless somebody powerful intervenes militarily against them, I can say there is no possibility for us to win. Is China willing to save us or not? If she is willing to save us, she must teach a formidable second lesson." He was referring to the brief Sino-Vietnamese border war of 1979, in which Peking said it was teaching Hanoi a lesson.
China Backs Guerrillas
China is backing the rebel coalition--composed of the Communist Khmer Rouge and two non-Communist groups, including one headed by Sihanouk--in its battle against an estimated 160,000 Vietnamese occupation troops.
Thai military sources said the Khmer Rouge counterattacked Saturday at Phum Thmey, their headquarters and showcase camp opposite the Thai border town of Nong Pru.
The insurgents blew up three ammunition dumps in the area, a Thai military source said. Vietnamese troops earlier destroyed six ammunition caches and several huts at Phum Thmey.
Khmer Rouge field reports said the guerrillas also ambushed a Vietnamese truck convoy carrying food and weapons along Highway 502, about 8 miles inside Cambodia. Twelve Vietnamese were killed and one truck was destroyed, the reports said.
Supply Lines a Target
Despite the counterattacks, it appeared unlikely that the Vietnamese would be dislodged from the former Khmer Rouge strongholds in the near future. The Khmer Rouge division commander at Sok Piep said his guerrillas were not strong enough to retake the bases and would concentrate instead on Vietnamese supply lines.
"We don't have heavy weapons. The only task we can do at the moment is cut supply lines," he said.
About 20,000 Vietnamese troops completed a swift four-day attack on the Khmer Rouge on Friday, overrunning the guerrillas' headquarters in the Phnom Malai mountains and seizing Phum Thmey.