Soldier Who Killed Own Commander Arrested

A 44-year-old soldier who allegedly killed his commander in Banteay Menachey province last week was arrested on Tuesday evening in Preah Vihear province after a week on the run, military police said Wednesday.

Brigade 51 soldier Te Bunthoeun last Thursday allegedly slit the throat of Nget Kong Rith, who commanded the brigade’s Company 51, after the victim intervened in a dispute between the suspect and his wife.

The commander slapped Mr. Bunthoeun after he refused to stop arguing, leading the suspect to allegedly retreat into his house and return with a machete. He fled the scene after killing Nget Kong Rith.

Nuon Pheareak, commander of the military police in Preah Vihear’s Kulen district, said that the suspect was ambushed at a gas station in the district late Tuesday after a military search team determined he was on the lam there.

A scuffle broke out as soldiers attempted to arrest the suspect, who resisted and attempted to flee.

“When the soldiers from Division 3 went to arrest the suspect, he ran away into the forest. He ran for more than 20 meters and then they shot him in his right thigh, leaving the suspect seriously injured,” Mr. Pheareak said.

Mr. Pheareak explained that the search team had received reports that Mr. Bunthoeun, who   is now recovering in the Japan Mongkol Borei hospital in Banteay Meanchey province, was still armed with a pistol.

But he was found only with an ax, having already disposed of the pistol at the gas station, Mr. Pheareak said.

Banteay Meanchey provincial military police commander Or Borin denied that anyone had shot Mr. Bunthoeun and said the suspect was in fact in the hospital after being pulled from his motorbike during the ambush.

“It’s normal that when you jump from a motorbike when driving you will get seriously injured. Tomorrow, he will leave the hospital and we will question him,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Borin added that Mr. Bunthoeun had overreacted in killing his commander last week.

“He should not have been so angry, he was only slapped two or three times, and it’s soldier’s rules that you have to do that in order for junior soldiers to have respect,” he said.

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