Radio Phom Penh reported the visit to Cambodia of two American reporters and British professor Malcolm Caldwell in a Saturday broacast, but failed to mention the shooting death of Caldwell in a terrorist attack earlier that day.
Caldwell's body was flown to Peking, accompanied by Elizabeth Becker of The Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Washington bureau chief Richard Dudman, the first American journalists to visit Cambodia since the Pol Pot government tool over in 1975.
The three were attacked in the Phnom Penh government guest house, where they were staying.
In a broadcast monitored in Bangkok after the attack, Radio Phonm Penh said only that the three toured the central, eastern, north and northwestern regions of the country, accompanied by officials of the Cambodian Foregin Ministry.
In their accounts of the incident, the reporters said Cambodian authorities blamed the attack on "enemy agents."
Three armed gunmen apparently took part in the attack. One gunman pointer a gun at Becker but did not fire, and Duman was shot at three times but not hit. Caldwell was shot in his room at the guest house.
Government officials said one gunman committed suicide, one was captured and another escaped. A government soldier was killed in the attack and a house servant wounded, they said.
Becker and Dudman flew from Peking to Tokyo, and later left for Washington.
Recounting the attack, Dudman said yesterday that up until the shooting Cambodian authorities had presented "an unexpected picture of security and stability."
The journalists said a government official attributed the attack to antigovernment terrorists trying to "discredit Kampuchea," as the Cambodians call their country, to "show we cannot protect our friends."
Dudman said in Tokyo that the attack "did affect my whole experience" of his two-week tour of Cambodia, which included a trip to the Vietnam border area.
"I'm more doubtful about their regime," he said. "But the killing of Caldwell is more important than my thinking."
Cambodia's ambassador to China, Pich Cheang, expressed his deep regrets over the murder to his British counterpart in Peking, Sir Percy Craddock. Dudman said the Cambodians, too, obviously were very shaken by the incident.
Despite the attack, U.S. officials expressed doubt yesterday about the existence of a widespread antigovernment insurgency in Cambodia. They cautioned, however, that it is too early, and U.S. intelligence too sketchy, to come to any conclusions