A man who was beaten to death by members of a 600-strong mob who accused him of sorcery was cremated Tuesday at his parents’ home in Takeo province.
Kraing Leav commune police chief Em Savuth said many people came from surrounding areas to Deum Svay village to mourn the death of Pov Sovann, 36, a traditional healer who was viciously set upon by residents in Bati district on Sunday.
“There were many guests who joined the victim’s funeral like people would any other funeral. A few guests came from Prey Chonlounh village and the rest came from other villages.”
Despite the large number of people involved in beating and stoning Pov Sovann to death, Mr. Savuth said many villagers were of the opinion that the victim had nothing to do with the several deaths he was accused of causing in the past two years.
“I joined the funeral and heard the guests who came from other villages say to each other that the victim did not do anything wrong and that there was no reason to kill him.”
Pov Sovann was beaten with clubs and stoned over the course of six hours following the recent deaths of the Prey Chonlounh village chief and a 54-year-old woman, which villagers attributed to him.
Kraing Leav commune chief Touch Soeun said that friends and relatives of the woman, upon finding her body, did not see a clear cause of death and assumed black magic was responsible after seeing centipedes around her head.
“The family, relatives, and villagers saw four big centipedes appear by the head of the woman. When the family went to hit them, [the centipedes] disappeared.”
The group later visited Pov Sovann’s house, where they discovered what they thought was clear evidence of sorcery.
“Villagers, police and I had found some evidence in the victims’ house such as altars, many photos, and many names listed with date of births in the back of calendar papers,” he said, explaining that the listed names included those of villagers who had died unexpectedly over the past several years.