Kandal Feuds Follow Polls

Despite continuing post-election clashes between ethnic Khmers and ethnic Vietnamese in Kandal province, authorities are afraid to arrest perpetrators for fear of being seen as not neutral, Adhoc monitoring section deputy head Chan Soveth said Thursday.

“Fighting will continue if the authorities don’t take action quickly,” he warned.

Since Election Day, Khmers from a nearby commune have re­peatedly thrown rocks and threatened to burn down homes in Kien Svay district’s ethnic Viet­namese Chroy Ampel village, villagers told Adhoc.

In the absence of arrests, the villagers are now paying police to keep vigil over their community, Chan Soveth said, following an Adhoc visit to the area on Wed­nes­day.

The Vietnamese villagers are now afraid to leave their Mekong riverside village to buy food, while Khmers fear to venture near the river, Chan Soveth said. Three people from the area are officially recorded as having been injured over the election period, and many other incidents are being re­searched, Chan Soveth said.

Kandal Governor Tep Nannory denied that Vietnamese villagers had been injured since the election. “We have educated [the Khmers] not to use violence or throw rocks at the Vietnamese.” he said. “We’re waiting for the government to solve the problem.”

Tensions flared up July 27, when Khmer youths barred ethnic Vietnamese from voting, Chan Soveth said.

Also in Kandal, mobs burned down seven Vietnamese dwelling places on three successive nights last week in Leukdek commune in Koh Thom district, Chan Soveth said.

“The police know who is responsible, but they can’t make arrests,” he said. He was unable to say why.

After shouting racist abuse, around 100 drunken youths torched the dwelling places from  July 28 to July 30, Chan Soveth said. The inhabitants of the buildings have since fled the area.

Tep Nannory said, “The police couldn’t make arrests because [the buildings] burned down at 11 pm.”


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