Eighteen more Montagnards arrived in Ratanakkiri yesterday morning, bringing the total number of the Christian asylum seekers in hiding in the northeastern province to 32, villagers and a local rights group said last night.
According to an ethnic Jarai villager, speaking on condition of anonymity, the latest arrivals – 16 men and two women – crossed into Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadav district at about 10am yesterday.
The villager, who has been helping Montagnards, an indigenous group from Vietnam’s central highlands, who have descended on the province in recent months, said the latest group would not stay with the 14 asylum seekers already in hiding.
“We do not place them in the same group, or the authorities and police will find them,” he said.
Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said he was told about the group at 7pm yesterday, and expected that more would follow in the coming weeks.
A UN officer, who asked not to be named, was aware of the latest arrivals, but said the UN was “advocating and negotiating” with the government to deal with the issue.