An ethnic Jarai man in Ratanakkiri province who fled into the forest earlier this month following allegations that he had used sorcery to kill his neighbours was taken into protective custody yesterday.
Rocham Kin, 48, left his home on April 5 citing fears for his safety following accusations from relatives, neighbours and local authorities that he was a sorcerer and had used his brateal plant, which is believed to hold magical powers, to kill 12 people in the area since 2014.
More than two weeks in the forest with little food and water had left Kin unwell. But, he said, district and provincial authorities came to his rescue yesterday morning with money, gifts and the offer of shelter.
“I am poor, so I am very happy when the district and provincial governors help like this. If I run out of this stuff, they will help again. They have allowed me to stay with the police,” Kin said, explaining that, in addition to $100 cash, he had been given food, mosquito nets, blankets, and sleeping mats.
Kin said he has been given permission to stay in the police station for about four days, while authorities investigate his case.
Bakao District Governor Heng Bunny said that authorities would use the time to speak with local villagers, and try to put an end to the accusations.
“We will also search for the reason that villagers have fallen sick” and died, he added.
In a separate incident, four men were charged by Ratanakkiri provincial police yesterday with “intentional violence” over a brutal attack on Wednesday on a couple they had accused of being sorcerers.
“They are detained at the provincial police station for the second night and will be sent to court tomorrow,” Trapaing Kraham commune police Chief Se Sen said yesterday.