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January 17, 1979 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-01-17

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Page 2-Wednesday, January 17, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Port recaptured

Y

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Troops
fighting for the toppled Cambodian
government recaptured the country's
deepwater port of Kompong Som, while
its naval forces battled with Viet-
namese gunships off the southwestern
coast, reliable sources here said
yesterday.
The sources reported that the vital
port city was recaptured on Monday,
but that Vietnamese forces retaliated.
by bombarding it with the heaviest air
strikes of the three-week war.
THE SOURCES could not verify
whether Kompong Som, 136 miles
southeast of Phnom Penh on the Gulf of
Siam, was still in the hands yesterday
of forces loyal to fugitive Premier Pol

Pot.
The new Cambodian provisional
government announced shortly after
seizing the capital with the help of their
Vietnamese allies on Jan. 7 that Kom-
pong Som had been taken that same
day.
Kompong Som is the country's only
deepwater port and served as the major
port-of-call for Chinese ships bringing
in supplies to their Cambodian allies.
RELIABLE SOURCES also reported
bitter sea battles near several islands
northwest of Kompong Som. They said'
the Vietnamese launched a fierce at-
tack and had possibly captured Kong
Island, one of the largest islands in the
area.

bytam
Western sources in Bangkok reported
earlier this week that the islands were a
major center for Cambodian forces
trying to set up guerrilla bases to com-
bat the Vietnamese forces. Officials of
the former government have also been
reported taking refuge in the Car-
damom and Elephant mountains of
southwest Cambodia.
It was not known whether Kong
Island or any others in the area had
been captured by the Vietnamese, the
sources said.
THE SOURCES who reported the sea
battle said the Cambodian navy - con-
sisting of about 50 gunboats armed with
heavy machine guns and mortars -
had remained loyal, but it wasn't

b odians
known how many vessels were at the
scene of the battle.
Thai intelligence sources reported
that the Vietnamese had at least four
vessels in the waters near Kong Island
and that the Cambodians had suffered
some losses at sea.
At the Thai-Cambodian border,
reporters said they saw flames rising
from the key Cambodian town of Poipet
and heard sporadic explosions.
THAI FRONTIER police said some-
one had set fire to Poipet, located just
across a bridge from the Thai town of
Aranyaprathet on the northwestern
frontier. Vietnamese forces had earlier
been reported to be within six to 12
See LOYAL, Page 5

Moslem hijackers
free 79 passengers

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BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Six
Moslem hijackers released all the
passengers and crew members of a
Lebanese airliner early today, ending a
seven-hour drama they had staged to
protest the disappearance of a religious
leader.
The hijackers freed the 66 passengers
and nine crew members after their
leader told a hastily organized airport
news conference that Libya was
responsible for the missing Imam
Mousa al-Sadr.
AFTER THE brief statement, the
hijackers left the Boeing 707 and
surrendered to Lebanese authorities.
The leader told the news conference
that the 54-year-old Imam had been
kidnapped in October by the Libyan
regime of Col. Moammar Khaddafy "in
defiance of all international laws." He
added, "It is a crime that will not go
unpunished."
Authorities - who initially said three
Moslem gunmen had hijacked the Mid-
dle East Airlines jet as it was en route
yesterday from Beirut to Amman, Jor-
dan - later said there were six
hijackers.
THE PLANE had returned here after
unsuccessful attempts to land in
Turkey or Cyprus, and the hijackers
freed 10 of their hostages, most of them
women and children.
After releasing the 10, the hijackers
said they wouldn't harm the others if
Lebanese authorities arranged a news
conference for them with the am-
bassadors of all Arab nations present.
Even as preparations were under way
for the conference, the hijackers
released an additional 20 passengers
who were said to have been very ner-
vous.
The government had not assembled
the ambassadors for the conference.
IN ACCORDANCE with the
ACU-I
BOWLING
TOURNAMENT
Sat. Jan. 20
9:30 am
Michigan
Union Lanes

hijackers' demand, the plane was
refueled on a secluded runway, which
was cordoned, off by police. The
hijackers reportedly said at one point
they wanted to take the plane to Libya
to demand "the release of our beloved
inam." But an airport spokesman said
Lebanese Interior Minister Salah
Salman talked them into holding the
news conference instead.
Among those on board the plane were
Lebanese parliament member Mah-
moud Ammar, his wife, and Abdul
Waddoud Hajjaj, the Lebanese
correspondent of Newsweek magazine.
The airport spokesman said the crew
members were all Lebanese and most
of the passengers were Arab nationals.
The jet was hijacked yesterday af-
ternoon 50 minutes after it had depar-
ted from Beirut.
ACCORDING TO the officials, the
skyjackers said they were members of
an organization called Amal - hope.
The group was founded by al-Sadr
during the 1975 civil war between
Lebanon's Moslems and Christians.
The imam has been missing since he
flew to Libya in October to attend the
anniversary celebrations of Khadafy's
1969 coup against the pro-Western
monarchy.
There have been rumors that al-Sadr
quarreled with Khadafy, but Libyan of-
ficials denied the reports and said the
imam left Libya a week after his
arrival. The hijackers first told the air-
port control tower they were
Palestinians planning to take the plane
to Larnaca airport on Cyprus or to the
Turkish capital of Ankara.
THE PLANE circled over Cyprus for
an hour before it headed back for
Beirut.
Salman and Health Minister Ibrahim
Sheito negotiated with the skyjackers.
They said the leader of the trio told
them, "We want to make our voice
heard in the world. We are Sadrists and
want the imam back."
A.l:though Khadafy's government hs
insisted the imam departed from the-
Libyan capital of Tripoli following the
anniversary celebration, Shiite leaders
privately expressed their belief that he
is being held by Libyan authorities.
Many Arab heads of state and even
Palestinian guerrilla leader Yasser
Arafat undertook mediation efforts
with Libya to determine the fate of the
missing imam, but there were no con-
crete results.,

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