One Killed in Grenade Attack in Siem Reap Province

A 21-year-old man was killed and 26 others were injured Monday night in a grenade attack on a dance party within a pagoda compound in Siem Reap province’s Varin district, police said Thursday.

Villagers gathered to celebrate Khmer New Year and raise funds for Sre Noy pagoda, in the commune of the same name, on Monday and were dancing outdoors on pagoda grounds at about 9:15 pm when an unknown attacker tossed a grenade over the pagoda wall, said Ou Em, provincial penal police chief.

Ney Thearith, 21, was killed instantly and 26 others—eight females and 18 males—were injured, he said. Ou Em said it was an unprecedented crime for which no arrests have been made.

“It is the first time a grenade has exploded while innocent people were dancing at a pagoda to celebrate Khmer New Year,” he said, adding that police suspect more than one perpetrator was involved.

Duong Sokha, the provincial penal police officer assigned to the case, said that authorities were looking into a verbal dispute that occurred in the area earlier in the day. He added, however, that he did not yet have any details as to who was involved in the dispute or what it was about.

Varin district is about 60 km outside Siem Reap town, about halfway between Siem Reap town and Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district. The area was formerly a hotbed of fighting against the Khmer Rouge, and Duong Sokha said illegal weapons are still in circulation there.

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