Bodies Seen Floating Down Ratanakkiri River

Villagers in Ratanakkiri prov­ince reported Saturday seeing two bodies floating down a river that human rights group Adhoc fears were Montagnard asylum-seek­ers fleeing Vietnam, Adhoc mon­itor Meas Khlemsa said Mon­day.

Two groups of villagers told Ad­hoc they saw the bodies on April 10, Meas Khlemsa said. He did not know how they died.

The two bodies were spotted in the Sesan river in En village, Ta Lao commune, Andong Meas district, Meas Khlemsa said.

One group of villagers saw the body of a woman, the other saw a de­­composed body that appeared to be a man, he said.

While the villagers believed the bodies were of indigenous people, Ad­hoc monitor Pen Bonnar said he hadn’t received information from authorities living along the river that anyone was missing.

“Because of this I think these are bodies of Montagnards fleeing Viet­nam,” Pen Bonnar said.

Ta Lao commune Chief Sopar Sobun told Adhoc he has received reports from villagers who say they saw four bodies in the river, Meas Khlemsa said.

The four reportedly included two men, a woman and a child, Meas Khlemsa said.

Pen Bonnar said he did not be­lieve the bodies were any of the five Montagnards re­ported on April 27 to be hiding in the jungles and trying to reach the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Re­-fug­­ees.

UNHCR country representative Thamrongsak Meechubot said Monday he had not received any reports of the bodies.

The government has not yet given permission for the UNHCR to go to Ratanakkiri to try and reach the five, Meechubot said.

Hor Ang, first deputy provincial po­lice chief, said Monday he had heard reports of the bodies. “We sus­pect the bodies were from Viet­nam…but we cannot conclude they were Montagnards,” he said.

Vietnamese Embassy spokes­man Nguyen Thanh Duc could not be reached for comment Mon­day.



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