Man Accused of Sorcery Files Complaint Against 8 Villagers

A man chased from his home in Kompong Speu province after fellow villagers accused him of sorcery has filed a criminal complaint against eight of the villagers, district police confirmed on Sunday, adding that they had referred it to the provincial court.

The complaint, filed at the end of last week by Nil Sokha, 45, accuses eight of Mr. Sokha’s fellow villagers of attempting to murder him and his family, as well as damaging his home and causing the loss of valuable family records, according to Kong Pisei district police chief Tuy Then.

About 150 villagers surrounded Mr. Sokha’s home in the district’s Maha Russei commune on April 15, some wielding weapons and others throwing rocks, to demand he leave the village because they believed him to be a sorcerer.

“I want the court to find justice for me, and demand $30,000 in compensation for my destroyed property,” Mr. Sokha said on Sunday.

Kong Pisei has witnessed a spate of sorcery accusations leading to forced evictions or murder in the past year, including two in the past month. District officials have started holding workshops in the district’s communes to educate villagers and try to curb the problem.

Mr. Sokha called district police officers on Sunday morning and asked officers to act quickly, according to Mr. Then.

“He wants the court to work on his complaint very soon, because he is worried about security,” he said, adding that officers had sent the complaint to the court late last week, on the same day Mr. Sokha filed it.

A Kompong Speu Provincial Court official declined to comment on whether they had received the complaint before the court opens again today.

Mr. Sokha, a rice farmer, said he was currently living with relatives but lacked a way to support himself or his family.

“My life has so much suffering now…. I have no money, I have no rice. I have only one pair of clothes with me,” he said, adding that he plans to sell his house after the case concludes and move away from the village.

“How can I live with villagers who attempted to kill me, my wife and my children?”

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