A string of deadly shootings has left four people dead, three of them women seeking political office, officials said Sunday.
Details of the shootings, which occurred Thursday, Friday and Saturday, were emerging over the weekend as officials opened investigations. The victims were members of either Funcinpec or the Sam Rainsy Party.
No arrests have been made, but investigators in Kampot province said they have suspects in two of the shootings and may make arrests today.
Funcinpec village chief hopeful Ngoun Choun, 53, of Prey Tonle village, Prey Tonle commune, Banteay Meas district, Kampot province, was gunned downed Thursday.
Funcinpec commune election candidate Long Phon and her husband Soun Kroeun, both 47, were shot to death Friday in their Kro Haung village, Chhouk I commune, Chhouk district, Kampot province rice field .
Police said two men late Saturday night fatally shot 42-year-old Touch Sean, a Sam Rainsy Party commune election candidate in Doun Leb village, Kork Preang commune, Svay Chrum district, Svay Rieng province.
Witnesses said they heard Touch Sean, a widow with four children, plead for her life with two intruders in her home. She was shot once in the chest, officials said.
“Before the shooting [witnesses] heard fighting and a woman say: ‘I am a simple woman so don’t kill me,’” said Meas Peng, Sam Rainsy Party secretary for Svay Rieng province.
After the shooting, two men walked out of her house, then stopped 20 meters away and fired three more shots at the dead woman’s home, police said.
Meas Peng said he thought the killing was political because the Sam Rainsy Party is very popular in the area. But provincial officials say robbery was the motive. Svay Rieng province governor Hun Neng said a police report stated the killers demanded 10 ounces of gold from Touch Sean, and shot her when she refused to give it to them.
Kampot province investigators said they were questioning two people about the shooting deaths of Long Phon and Soun Kroeun, who are survived by four children. Long Phon was listed third on the Funcinpec commune council ballot and her husband was working as a Funcinpec investigator for the Feb 3 elections.
The couple were killed at 7:20 pm about two km from their house as they worked in their rice field, police said. Long Phon was shot once and her husband was shot three times with an AK-47, police said.
Funcinpec has sent investigators to the province, Funcinpec senior minister Tol Lah said Sunday. Chanvarith Puth, the Funcinpec governor of Kampot, said investigators have two suspects in the killings and may make arrests today.
“We are definitely going to get the guys,” Chanvarith Puth said.
Asked it the killings were political, the governor said: “We should not use those words.”
Ngoun Choun was also a Funcinpec member. She was in line to be named Prey Tonle village chief if Funcinpec won a majority of the seats on the Prey Tonle commune council in the election. Her husband, Yuy San, was also wounded in the shooting. Police said they have no suspects.