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Montagnard group voluntarily sent home

Twelve Montagnards were voluntarily repatriated to Vietnam on Friday through a Ratanakkiri province border checkpoint after being cheated by a broker who promised them jobs in Thailand, according to officials.

The Montagnards – a minority group from Vietnam’s highlands – sold their land, property and cattle about eight months ago after “a broker told them that working in Thailand would get them a bigger salary”, said Ratanakkiri deputy police chief Chea Bunthoeun.

But the jobs never materialised so the group, which included two children, decided last week to return home.

“When they arrived in Cambodia, we helped them so that they could return through O’Yadav International Checkpoint,” Bunthoeun said.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said they spent one night in Ratanakkiri’s Banlung town.

“Their relatives negotiated with Vietnamese authorities not to mistreat them or put any pressure on them when they returned,” he said.

Since October hundreds of Montagnards have fled to Cambodia citing persecution.

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