In unrelated incidents this week, RCAF soldiers have been linked to the killing of a Kompong Cham province fisherman, and the injuring of four farmers and torching of 24 cottages in Kompong Speu province, human rights investigators reported Tuesday.
Chan Chen, director of the Kompong Cham branch of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said fisherman Map Pheng, 24, was shot dead at 8:30 am Monday by a man in military uniform while fishing in a Kang Meas district lake in Prek Koy commune.
Adhoc spokesman Chan Soveth, whose rights group is also investigating that incident, said that in a separate incident eight RCAF Division 31 soldiers were hired by a group of unidentified Phnom Penh residents to assault villagers in Kompong Speu’s Phnom Sruoch district on Sunday. The group was seen eyeing land in Phnom Sruoch three days before the attack, he said.
The assaulted villagers include Pen Muth, 31, who was struck repeatedly in the head with a rifle; Prum Lang, 28, who suffered a broken hand; Luy Ruos, 31, who was struck in the knees with a hoe, and Uk Proeung, 60, who was repeatedly punched and kicked.
The soldiers are also accused of torching the villagers’ 24 cottages in the district’s Damnak Roung commune before forcefully evicting residents.
According to Adhoc, the villagers had been occupying the 200-hectare site since 1986.
Vann Sorn, deputy commander of RCAF Division 31, said Tuesday he was unaware of the attack and rejected claims that the villagers had occupied the land for 18 years. “I am not involved,” he said.