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Lon Nol


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(b. 13 Nov. 1913, d. 17 Nov. 1985).

President of the Khmer Republic (Cambodia) 1972–5 Born in Prey Veng district as the grandson of a provincial Governor, he was educated in Saigon and joined the civil service, himself rising to the rank of provincial Governor by 1945. An ally of Sihanouk, he was Minister of Defence (1955–66), when he supervised a number of campaigns against Communist guerrillas. As Prime Minister (1966–7), he suppressed a peasant revolt in Samalut. Again Prime Minister from 1969, he opposed Sihanouk's policy of neutrality and in 1970 led a coup which deposed him. He established close ties with US and South Vietnamese forces in Saigon, allowing them to operate in Cambodia. On 10 March 1972 he took full power as President of the Khmer Republic, but by 1974 his inept leadership had reduced his control to Pnomh Penh and Battambang. After the fall of Saigon, he was flown out by US helicopters in April 1975. He went into exile in Hawaii.

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