Ratanakkiri Police Shoot Dead Alleged Assassin

A Ratanakkiri man who allegedly shot a police officer dead last month and was believed to be plotting to assassinate the president of an organization working to em­power ethnic minority villagers in the province was killed by authorities on Thursday night, police said.

The suspect, known only as Ny, was being hunted for the July 17 killing of Bokeo district’s deputy police chief Buth Sophat who was investigating reports that a contract killing had been or­dered for Dam Chanthy, president of the Highlanders Association.

Hor Ang, Ratanakkiri deputy provincial police chief, said on Fri­day that Bokeo district police officers surrounded Ny at a house on Thursday night and ordered him to surrender his weapon. Ny opened fire and was killed by po­lice in the ensuing gun battle, Hor Ang said. “

No officers were injured,” Hor Ang said, adding that it was impossible to take the suspect alive or to get to the bottom of the alleged plot to assassinate Dam Chanthy.

“We could not arrest him alive. He was like a tiger with nowhere to run,” he said.

Dam Chanthy, who is currently in hiding at an undisclosed location in Phnom Penh, said she felt a degree of relief that Ny was no longer hunting her. However, she ex­pressed regret that police were un­able to interrogate the suspect to identify his paymasters.

“It’s regrettable that we were not able to ask him about the mastermind. I’m still worried about my safety,” she said. Efforts by the High­­landers As­sociations to educate ethnic minority members about their land rights issues have brought them into conflict in the past.

This year, Ratanakkiri au­th­orities had threatened to shut the or­ga­nization down after minority villagers in O’Yadaw district organized peace­ful public protests to block a government move grant­ing their an­cestral lands as land concessions to a private company.

 

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