Southeast Asia Dry-Season Rite

Fresh fighting in Kampuchea

An hour after midnight on Christmas morning, the onslaught began. Residents of Rithysen (pop. 66,000), a Kampuchean refugee camp and guerrilla base near the country's border with Thailand, were awakened by the sound of artillery and mortar shells exploding in and around their sprawling bamboo village. By 7 a.m. an estimated 1,000 Vietnamese infantrymen, led by armored vehicles, had fought their way into Rithysen (also known as Nong Samet), about 140 miles east of Bangkok. Their aim: to destroy the camp and other centers of opposition to the Viet Nam-backed Kampuchean government of Heng Samrin, and to drive the refugees into...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!