4 Girls Missing From B Meanchey Orphanage

Four young girls have disappeared from an orphanage in Banteay Meanchey province, officials at the center and rights workers said Tuesday.

The four girls vanished Satur­day from the Four Square Child­ren of Promise orphanage in Serei Saophoan district’s Kom­pong Svay commune but the authorities were not notified until Monday, orphanage director Chum Rado said.

Ven Champa, 14, Im Sinuon, 10, Chres Chorenai, 10, and her 13-year-old sister Chres Somchai were last seen when they left for school, Chum Rado said, adding that the three youngest have shaved heads because of lice infestation.

“In the beginning, I thought they were visiting relatives,” he said, adding it took searches on Saturday, Sunday and Monday to convince him the girls had actually disappeared.

Soum Chankea, a provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said the situation was suspicious and raises questions about the care and security the girls received.

“The center must be responsible. The children are all females,” Soum Chankea said.

Chum Rado defended his actions saying he sent a note to police and the provincial department of social affairs Monday notifying them that the children were missing.

Serei Saophoan Governor Oum Reatrey said Tuesday that he had not heard about the missing girls and would investigate further.

Provincial police chief Hun Heang said he would look into the disappearances.

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