After being accused of engaging in black magic by villagers, a deputy village chief in Kompong Speu province was forced to swear on his life in public last week that he was not a sorcerer.
In front of a crowd of more than 30 villagers and police officers, Chea Phoeun, deputy village chief of Tnort Chrum in Samraong Tong district, vowed that he had not engaged in any witchcraft.
Mak Than, chief of Phneay commune, said on Sunday that Chea Phoeun was well-known in the area as a magic healer that treated local villagers when they fell ill. But when several people started falling ill at once, villagers believed that Chea Phoeun was practicing black magic.
“He was afraid the villagers would kill him,” Mak Than said. “He swore that he is not a sorcerer and said that if he was a sorcerer he would be killed by the spirits.”
Mak Than said he couldn’t say for certain whether the accusing villagers believed him or not.
Mak Than said he recently hired a fortuneteller to find out the reason for the villagers’ illness and the fortuneteller blamed a black magic spell.
District police chief Phat Kimhong blamed the fortuneteller for stirring up the sorcery scare. “The villagers really believe in sorcery,” he said.
In July, a 53-year-old woman who was accused of sorcery in the same district was beheaded.