The body of what villagers had suspected was a Montagnard asylum seeker, found partially buried in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadaw district earlier this week, was determined to be the remains of a local teenager who had drowned in a river, a villager said Thursday.
On Monday, villagers reported seeing eight bodies floating down the Sesan River in O’Yadaw’s Sesan commune and later came across a body buried on the riverbank.
An ethnic Jarai man living in the area, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, said Thursday that he and about 10 other villagers on Wednesday traveled to Phe village, near where the body was discovered.
“We met the parents of the dead man and they told us the body was that of their son, who had mental problems and drowned,” he said.
The Jarai villager, who since October has aided more than 90 Montagnard asylum seekers fleeing Vietnam, said the parents told him the 16-year-old died on March 29.
“We asked the parents why they did not bury the body properly in the village and they said it was because it was swollen and smelled bad,” he said.