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Conflict

Cambodia finds Khmer Rouge grave

Villagers in Cambodia have stumbled on a burial ground, where Khmer Rouge victims are believed to have been dumped. The discovery is a powerful reminder of the traumatic history that Cambodia is still living with today.

A mass grave believed to contain the skulls and bones of hundreds of Khmer Rouge victims has been discovered in northwestern Cambodia, local authorities confirmed on Monday.

"Some of the skulls were found blindfolded and the hands and feet were tied up with shoelaces," said Siem Reap province's deputy military police chief Nhim Seila.

"According to locals, this was a place where the Khmer Rouge killed people every day during the regime. I think there are hundreds of skeletons in the grave," he added.

The morbid discovery of at least 17 corpses at the burial ground was first made last weekend 60 kilometers (40 miles) outside of Siem Reap where Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia's most famous tourist attractions, is located. At the time of the discovery, villagers were excavating land to dig up soil for commercial purposes.

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The Documentation Center of Cambodia had first identified the area where the discovery was made as a “Killing Field" in 1998, when they estimated that the site concealed some 35,000 bodies, the center's director Youk Chhang told AFP. Chhang added that he hoped Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes tribunal, which is currently trying three surviving senior Khmer Rouge figures, would examine the burial site as a potential source of evidence for war crimes"The bones cannot find peace until the truth they hold in themselves has been revealed," Chhang said.

sej/rg (AFP, AP)