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Phnom Penh troops are pressing home an offensive against Khmer Rouge guerrillas in strife-torn central Cambodia in violation of a cease-fire, a United Nations peacekeeping official said yesterday.

A 22,000-strong multinational UN force is in Cambodia to help prevent fighting and prepare for elections scheduled to take place in late May.

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"Since last Friday, [Phnom Penh] has consolidated areas won back from the NADK [the Khmer Rouge] and has applied furthur pressure on Sakream," the spokesman said, referring to the Khmer Rouge regional headquarters north of Kompong Thom.

The Khmer Rouge, ousted from power in 1979 after a brutal four-year rule, have refused to abide by a Paris peace agreement between all four Cambodian factions, the basis of the UN peace process.

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