RCAF Soldiers Accused of Shooting at Villagers

Three families in Preah Vihear’s Choam Ksan district have filed a complaint with police claiming that four RCAF soldiers had allegedly opened fire on them and other villagers with AK-47 assault rifles on Feb 5, police said Tuesday.

District police chief Pang Vandy said by telephone that the families from Toek Krahom commune, who filed the complaint the same day, claimed that the soldiers fired about 100 shots, forcing them to flee from the site they have occupied since 2003.

“Villagers were threatened by soldiers shooting around 100 bullets to stop them from building cottages,” he said, adding that police were investigating the case.

“Soldiers’ guns should be used for protecting the villagers, not for threatening,” Pang Vandy said. “If they acted like this, it means that they broke the law.”

According to the complaint, Pang Vandy said, the soldiers allegedly told the families they could not build on the land since it was controlled by Pan Phalla, the director of Soldier Patrol Division 5 at border Military Patrol Unit 404.

Police are trying to determine if Pan Phalla ordered his soldiers to fire on the villagers or if they acted of their own accord, Pang Vandy said.

Pan Phalla could not be reached by telephone Tuesday.

Choam Ksan district military police chief Pich Sophy said by telephone Tuesday that his officers are investigating the case, but added that no soldiers have been arrested.

“I am not sure whether Pan Phalla ordered his soldiers to act like that or not,” Pich Sophy said.

Deputy District Governor Krouch Sambath said Tuesday that it was too early to determine who was “right or wrong” in the incident.

“Today I am investigating this case,” he said.

Preah Vihear provincial police chief Mao Pov said his police were also investigating, but added, “It is just personal dispute.”

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