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Asylum seekers fall ill in forest

Asylum seekers fall ill in forest

As security forces in Ratanakkiri province continued to seek the arrest yesterday of 32 Montagnards hiding there, villagers and a local rights worker said the harsh conditions had taken their toll on two of the asylum seekers.

According to a villager who asked not to be named, the two men, who fled Vietnam on January 28, fell ill on Thursday.

“I don’t know what the disease is, but one man’s urine contains blood. Another one has a bad stomachache and diarrhoea,” he said.

The villager said a heavy 24-hour security presence is making it more difficult to provide the Montagnards with food, water and medicine.

“Yesterday, they missed a meal since we did not dare to enter when we saw the guards’ motorbikes. Most of the food is just rice and some days, they don’t even get that,” he said.

Mar Vichet, O’Yadav district governor, denied that security forces were searching for the asylum seekers.

Twenty-three other Montagnards have reached Phnom Penh in recent weeks to process asylum claims.

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