A Funcinpec activist and the wife of a party official were slain Sunday in separate attacks in Prey Veng province, party members and government officials said Wednesday.
Funcinpec officials claimed that both murders were politically motivated executions intended to undermine local party efforts. If true, the slayings would be the first killings with political overtones in nearly two months.
But authorities claimed it was too early to determine if the killings were politically motivated.
Phun Phoun, 32, and Neang Mom Yang, 39, were both shot dead in Kompong Trabek district at 7:30 pm by unidentified bands of armed men, Interior Ministry and Funcinpec officials said.
Phun Phoun, a party activist, was dragged from his home and shot, police and party members said. Neang Mom Yang, the wife of the party’s second deputy district representative in Kompong Trabek, was slain while weaving underneath her stilted house.
“The Funcinpec party strongly condemns these latest political executions and considers these acts as a deliberate intimidation of its grassroots supporters during the electoral process,” read a Funcinpec statement received Wednesday.
The statement warned of “the increase of the level of fear and intimidation which is encouraged by the current culture of impunity.” It did not speculate on the identity of the killers.
Party members interviewed Wednesday expressed anger over the slayings, but said they would await the results of a UN investigation before making further comment.
General Mao Chandara, chief of headquarters for National Police, said Phun Phoun was killed in a robbery attempt, three days after he joined the Reastr Niyum party of First Prime Minister Ung Huot.
While details of the second killing are less clear, Mao Chandara speculated that the jealous first wife of a district Funcinpec official hired henchmen to kill Neang Mom Yang, who is allegedly the official’s second wife.
“I cannot yet consider these killings to be politically motivated,” Mao Chandara said, citing an ongoing investigation at the provincial level.
Based on provincial police interviews with witnesses, three men with AK-47s approached Phun Phoun at his home and demanded valuables, Mao Chandara said. Phun Phoun claimed not to have any jewelry or gold, but told the suspects that they could take his cows, Mao Chandara said. The men then dragged Phun Phoun down the stairs and shot him three times, about 100 meters from his house, Mao Chandara said. He said the shots were heard by neighbors.
Nothing was taken from the home, he said, and the case is still under investigation. No arrests have been made.
“I received the report yesterday from the provincial police chief of Prey Veng that they are conducting an investigation to arrest the killers,” he said. “We will probably have results in five more days.”
In the other case, an unknown number of armed men snuck up on Neang Mom Yang, Mao Chandara said. The men dragged her out from underneath her house and shot her, he said.
Provincial police could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Officials from the UN and the Cambodian human rights group Adhoc confirmed their organizations are investigating.Funcinpec Members Killed In Prey Veng, Officials Say