Killings in Kratie May Be Connected to Poll

Three Vietnamese and one Cambodian were killed Wednes­day in an attack in Kratie province possibly linked to the upcoming elections, officials said Thursday.

“Our preliminary judgment is that this was not banditry or revenge,” Kratie Deputy Gover­nor Pav Ham Than said, noting that nothing had been stolen in the attack.

“It could have been done by opposition groups to protest against the election, who want to threaten the election process,” Pav Ham Than said.

Ethnic Vietnamese are considered more likely to vote for the CPP because of their connection to the Hanoi-backed regime in Cambodia during the 1980s.

The incident occurred when five men armed with AK-47 as­sault rifles attacked a fishing village in remote Kratie province, a top National Police official said.

The attackers, wearing soldier’s fatigues, approached the floating village of Prek Prasap by boat late Wednesday and opened fire on a house, killing the residents, Police General Mao Chan­dara said Thursday. Prek Prasap village is on the Mekong River about 160 km northeast of Phnom Penh.

Mao Chandara said a motive for the killings is still unclear but did not attribute the attack to the upcoming election. He said the attackers approached the house demanding money and valuables, but became afraid that police would arrive. So the gunmen fired on the victims, Mao Chan­dara said.

The attackers then escaped in their motorboat. Mao Chandara blamed hard-line Khmer Rouge for the “terrorist action.” Auth­orities do not have any suspects, he said.

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