Police in Mondolkiri Province Hunt for Suspect in Girl’s Rape

Police in Mondolkiri province said Tuesday that they were searching for an unidentified man who allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl on Monday after he asked her to tend cattle with him.

Deputy provincial police chief So Sovann said the man approached the victim and three other girls—all aged 10 to 12—while they were fishing at a stream about 4 km from their homes in Keo Seima district’s Sre Chhouk commune.

“The girls said the suspect lied to them saying that he wanted the older girl to tend cows with him and then promised her something to eat,” Mr. Sovann said.

“But the suspect pulled the girl into the forest and then removed all her clothes and raped her at that time.”

The parents of the victim filed a complaint with commune police after she told them about the incident, the police chief said.

“After we received the complaint, I ordered the district and commune police officers to search around there to find the suspect,” said Mr. Sovann, adding that the suspect could not be found because the complaint was filed two hours after the rape allegedly occurred.

Mr. Sovann said that police believed the suspect came from outside the area, which is largely populated by the ethnic Bunong minority.

“I believe the suspect is from outside the commune because if he was a local man the girls would have recognized him,” he said, adding that a villager had spotted an unknown man quickly walking away from the forest shortly after the incident allegedly took place.

“Today we sent the girl to the [provincial referral] hospital for examination, but the result has not been issued yet,” he said.

District police chief Sun Bunthoeun said officers were still investigating Tuesday evening and declined to comment further.

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