Two men were shot dead by Thai soldiers near the Thai border in Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district early Tuesday morning, officials said yesterday.
Deputy district governor Sao Than said the bodies of the two dead men were sent back to Cambodia by Thai authorities on Tuesday night after being shot at about 2:30 am.
“The two dead bodies were sent back to their home…across the border at the Choam checkpoint in Anlong Veng district,” Mr Than said, adding that he believed the victims had been shot at about 2:30 am in Thailand’s Sisaket province after they crossed the border to take part in illegal logging.
The shooting took place on the same day that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong met with his Thai counterpart Kasit Piromya and requested that Thai authorities refrain from shooting at Cambodians who accidentally crossed the border into Thailand.
Deputy Tomnup Dach commune chief Khim Khoeun said it was the second time this year that Thai soldiers had killed villagers from his commune, after a man was shot dead in May.
“Thai soldiers shot to kill 17-year-old Sim Oeuk in his head…and the second victim 29-year-old Hun Nop was shot in his stomach,” Mr Khoeun said.
In a separate case, Brigadier General Nuon Nov, deputy commander of RCAF Region 4 at Anlong Veng district, said four Cambodian men had been captured by Thai soldiers about an hour before the shooting.
He added that the four men had been captured in the same area that the shooting took place and that Thai authorities had returned them with the two corpses on Tuesday night.
“We received four Cambodian men from the Thai authorities, who were arrested by Thai soldiers,” he said, adding that he believed they were involved in illegal timber smuggling. “After I hand them over to the Trapaing Prasat district governor, they were sent back to their homes.”
Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said 11 Cambodian villagers have been shot dead by Thai soldiers in Oddar Meanchey province over the past year.