Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The death caves of Battambang

This graphic representation of the Phnom Sampeou caves marks the entrance. $1 for foreigners
The death caves of Phnom Sampeou, some 18kms west of Battambang, have been on the tourist circuit for many years. It was only in the last year that the local authorities built a new genocidal memorial and located it in Teng Klun cave, also known as La-Ang Kirirum. More than 15,000 people are believed to have been killed at the site, which was both a prison and execution center during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 -79. Eye witnesses from the time recount that in late afternoons, victims were tied together and led to the top of the mountain, where they were interrogated before having their throats cut with saws or were bludgeoned and thrown into the caves below. Children were usually killed without interrogation and thrown down a smaller cave shaft. A small temple building at the top of the mountain was used as the prison. Today the victims' remains have been collected into one shrine as over the years many of the bones have been removed from the site.
This is the cave shaft allegedly used for killing young children
The newly built genocide memorial shrine at La-Ang Kirirum
Some of the 15,000 victims believed to have died at the site
The final resting place for the victims of Phnom Sampeou


Anonymous Monique said...

After seeing these pictures, i was there a peaceful place with a horrible past, which brought me to tears. I vistited cambodia in oct/nov 2007. I was touched by the beauty of the country but most off all the people touched my hart. Travelling alone as a woman was no problem. Families took me into there home, proud to have me as their gast,drink and eat with them but it was an honour for me to be in their homes, even we couldn't speak with eachother. I took the people off cambodia with me in my hart, and hope to return to cambodia one day.
The Netherlands

June 9, 2008 12:32 AM  

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