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Two of the allegedly poisoned schoolgirls receive medical treatment following the incident.
Two of the allegedly poisoned schoolgirls receive medical treatment following the incident. Photo supplied

Cops question schoolgirls' poison gas story

Police in Tbong Khmum’s Kroch Chmar district have yet to make any arrests over an alleged gas attack that sickened 24 girls attending an Islamic school.

Thy Sengly, police chief in Trea commune, said police are investigating as a possible motive the school director’s claim that someone resents his leadership over the school and influence in the community.

But police are increasingly sceptical about one of the victim’s account of seeing the silhouettes of two men apparently fleeing from the house where the students were poisoned.

“It’s hard to believe the victim who saw the shadow of two men,” Sengly said. “If she saw at least some of their faces, we could have arrested them on the same day.”

The incident occurred on Saturday evening, when the 24 female students, aged between 12 and 22, say they smelled a strange odour as they were getting ready for bed in a guesthouse near the school. Soon, they experienced symptoms including vomiting, trouble breathing and passing out and had to be rushed to a referral hospital.

Son Mano, the teacher of the Muslim school, yesterday insisted that he has enemies in the community.

“Someone is jealous of me for controlling and managing the Muslim school and some other properties.

They always disturb us,” he said, but could not identify who that might be. “Anyway, we are sorry that we do not have proof to arrest them.”

Doctors at the referral hospital have not identified the substance that caused the symptoms. However, hospital chief Oun Samart said the victims’ condition was much improved.

“Now they are better. We allowed them to go home,” he said.

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