Three ethnic Bunong men in Mondolkiri province confessed to the murder of a man they accuse of being a sorcerer following their arrest Tuesday, according to police. A fourth suspect was also arrested, but police are treating him as a witness after he reported the crime to the victim’s wife.
Neak Komprea, 28, was allegedly murdered in the forest about 2 km from his home in Keo Seima district around midnight Monday after a family member of one of the suspects suddenly turned ill, according to Kab Thorn, chief of police in Memang commune.
The two other suspects held the victim responsible for the previous deaths of their relatives, he said.
“The victim had his hands put in handcuffs and tied behind his back and was stabbed with a knife in many places on the body,” Mr. Thorn said. “The suspects accused the victim of being a sorcerer and they killed him even though this is an illegal action.”
Police said they were contacted by the victim’s wife shortly after the fourth suspect, 18-year-old Pha’chak Angkea, visited her home to inform her of the killing. She also told police that four men had come to take her husband from the family home around 10 p.m. on Monday.
“The young man…said that when they brought the victim into the forest…to torture him he only saw this. He told the three men that he would not join in torturing the victim and came back to tell the victim’s wife,” Mr. Thorn said.
“I think that the youngest man of the four men is a witness because he is the person who provided the information to the wife and the police,” he added.
Mr. Thorn said Ma’yoeul Chhuon, 28, Pha’yos Saroeung, 43, and Nheng Hoe, 21, had confessed to the murder.
All four suspects remained at the provincial police headquarters Wednesday afternoon, he said.