Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Killing Cave.

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Killing Cave.

I recently visited the city of Battambang in Cambodia. I had few expectations about it, but it turned out to be a very pleasant, friendly place. It is apparently Cambodia’s second city – although I suspect Siem Reap and SIhanoukville might have something to say about that these days.

The cave was at the top of this mountain

The cave was at the top of this mountain

I have been to the Killing Fields and the S21 (Tuol Sleng) prison in Phnom Penh a few times, but never to Battambang, so to discover a Khmer Rouge killing cave existed in a mountain nearby was something of a surprise, although that was down to my then-ignorance of the country-wide atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge, as well as the lack of publicity the Killing Cave has had in the mainstream travel media.

A camp survivor's image of the Killing Cave

A camp survivor’s image of the Killing Cave

We took a truck up to the top of the mountain and were shown a hole dropping down into a cave below, where, we were told, tens of thousands of prisoners were killed by throwing them off the mountain, the prisoners having first been tortured in a small pagoda which still exists today.

From the bottom of the Killing Cave, looking up to where the victims were thrown off the top.

The monks had gathered together some of the skulls and bones at the site and placed them in reliquaries at the bottom of the cave.

It was a pretty grim, thought-provoking place, and, as ever in Cambodia, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the sheer horror of the Khmer Rouge and the terror in death of their victims, although death might have come as a welcome release to many who had been tortured for prolonged periods by them.

More victims

Killing Cave victims

After our trip we produced a poignant video of it, which you can see and hear on this Youtube link. What makes the music even more appropriate is that it is original Khmer Rouge music from their horrific reign.

For a modern-day take on the evils of the Khmer Rouge and backpackers in the Vietnam War-ravaged Cambodian jungle, see: http://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-2/backpackers-meet-the-vietnam-war-back-screenplay-finally-finished/

For POWs/MIAs in Laos, see:

 

Approximate location of the Killing Cave, Battambang, Cambodia, circled in red.

Approximate location of the Killing Cave, Battambang, Cambodia, circled in red.

© Peter Alan Lloyd

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Front cover of BACK Part 1.

Front cover of BACK Part 1.

Front cover of BACK Part 2.

Front cover of BACK Part 2.

 

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