Kratie province officials say they still have no suspects in the rape and murder of nine-year-old girl whose naked and beaten body was found on Friday behind a primary school in the province’s Sambor district.
District police chief Bun Chhoeun said his officers questioned two Srei Treng villagers Saturday but determined they had no involvement in the crime.
“We are still researching to arrest the suspect, who we can say is a person that lived in Srei Treng and had contact with the victim’s family,” he said.
Deputy district penal police chief Svay Sunnary said the girl, who sustained a massive blow to the head and several bruises across her body, was likely beaten to death with a stick after being raped.
The girl’s parents grew concerned when their daughter failed to return home Thursday and reported her absence to police by about 3 pm, he added.
The case marks the first reported incidence in Cambodia of child rape and murder in 2010-an increasingly common crime in Cambodia. And though their figures vary wildly, both government and NGO records suggest that child rape cases are on the rise.
Charulata Prasada, an advisor to the UN Development Fund for Women in Cambodia, questioned yesterday if the reported numbers reflect an actual increase in rape cases or better reporting.
“Maybe we’re just beginning to see an improvement in dealing with this,” she said.
Local NGOs regularly fault the government’s efforts to combat rape, particularly the practice of negotiating cash payments from attacker to victim in return for not pursuing criminal charges.
Ms Prasada commended the government’s efforts to combat rape and noted the National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women as an example. Launched this month and intended to help government ministries coordinate their efforts, she said the UN would help the Ministry of Women’s Affairs implement the plan.
Women’s Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Phavi yesterday declined to speak with a reporter and referred questions to ministry spokesperson Sy Define, who could not be reached for comment.