The Cambodian National United Front for National Salvation took power in Phnom Penh barely one month after its creation with an unknown leadership and a program that promises to restore the cities, schools and Buddhist religion abolished under the Pol Pot regime.
Echoing the pledges made on Dec. 3, when the Front was announced over Radio Hanoi, the Cambodian rebels said in another broadcast yesterday, "all citizens will enjoy freedom" of movement... freedom of religion" and added that "the repair of temples and pagodas" would begin.
Everyone, according to the program, would be allowed to return to their former homes, even those who had lived in Phnom Penh before 1975, when the Cambodian Communists defeated the U.S.-supported Lon Nol government.
"City-dwellers who desire to return to urban areas will be allowed to do so when the overall sistuation in the whole country permits," the rebels' program said.
Set up under the auspices of the Viemamese, the Front is the product of the year-long border war and ideological dispute between Vietnam and the Pol Pot government.
In its Dec. 3 statement, the front promised "peace, freedom, nonalignment and socialism" for Cambodia.
Apparently composed of dissident Cambodians who fled the country after 1975, the Front is Led by a 14-member Central Committee presided over by Heng Somrin. In its first lengthy broadcast, the Front described Heng Somrin as a former member of the eastern region Communist Party Organization under Pol Pot and military commander of Division 4 forces.
The size of the Front is not clear although 2,000 people were said to have taken part in its inauguration ceremony in "a liberated area" of Cambodia. About 170,000 Cambodians fled to Vietnam after the Pol Pot government came to power.
The Cambodian people, who have suffered the devastation of a five-year civil war and the harsh radicalism of the Pol Pot regime, which took hundreds of thousands of lives, were promised that in most cases reeducation would take the place of brutal reprisals in the new administration.
Officials and soldiers of the Pol Pot government will receive five-day "re-education courses," the broadcast stated. Those officials "seriously imbued with reactionary viewpoints" would receive longer courses.
However, the Front warned "foreign officials" -- presumably the Chinese advisors who may still be in Cambodia -- that if they do not surrender of "show true repentence after their capture" they will be "duly punished."
Injured Fornt soldiers and the families of those Front soldiers killed in action were promised special care and "priority in their material life."