Police in Kompong Cham province are hunting for a former RCAF soldier who allegedly shot and killed three people and injured four others Thursday, officials said yesterday.
Mul Mab, 52, allegedly opened fire outside a mosque in Kompong Treas commune’s village six–a predominantly Muslim community in Kroch Chhmar district–with an AK-47 assault rifle last Thursday, according to the province’s deputy judicial police chief Choem Senghong.
Nhor Ramo, 43, and El Rormin, 59, were shot and killed at the scene, while 25-year-old El Malei died after being taken to Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital, Mr Senghong said. A mother and her three young children were also caught in the attack and suffered varying degrees of injury, he said, adding the family were taken to Kompong Cham Referral Hospital for treatment.
Mr Mab fled the scene after police arrived, and escaped into a nearby cornfield, Mr Senghong said. “Police have been searching for this man for one night and one day, but the suspect has not been arrested yet,” he added.
The suspect–himself a Muslim and member of the Cham ethnic group–had been drinking heavily and got into a dispute with his wife and son, Mr Senghong said. He threatened the pair with a machete before they fled, he said.
District police chief Lay Nguon said the suspect then went to the local mosque to confront Mr Ramo, who police suspect may also have been involved in the family dispute. The suspect shot Mr Ramo five times, he said, then began firing indiscriminately.
Police believe Mr Mab was a soldier with 203 Battalion who resigned sometime before 2008, according to Mr Senghong. Lieutenant General Sar Chheang, 203 Battalion commander, said he had no details on the case yet.
“I know it is a dispute over drinking and jealousy. We are finding out more,” he said. He declined to say when Mr Mab left the armed forces, or what rank he held before he resigned.
Phuong Sothea, provincial investigator for local rights group Adhoc, said the case should proceed according to the law. “This suspect must be arrested, even if he offers compensation…. When criminals are not punished, society becomes unsafe,” he said.