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About 1,000 guerrillas launched an assault last weekend on Svay Chek, a northwestern Cambodian town. The Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF), one of two noncommunist groups backed by the United States and other Western countries, said government troops were holding the town.

Svay Chek is a defense post for a government military headquarters. David McKaige, a reporter who traveled with KPNLF forces within 2 miles of Svay Chek, says ``This would be an important psychological victory.''

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Since September the noncommunist groups (the KPNLF and the National Sihanoukist Army), helped in some cases by the Khmer Rouge, have secured a strip of mostly unpopulated scrubland reaching about one day's march inside Cambodia from Thailand.

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