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Relatives pray at Khmer Rouge mass grave

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More than 200 villagers gathered in Siem Reap’s Kralanh district yesterday to pray and seek solice for relatives executed during the Khmer Rouge regime after their remains were found over the weekend at the southern base of Trung Bat mountain.

Do Dantrey village deputy chief Muth Samkhan told the Post by telephone that cars and motorbikes came to the village in droves yesterday to light incense and pray for the dead.

“Before, we just know that here is a former Khmer Rouge’s prison. We didn’t know they killed a lot of people and buried them underground. We have so much pity, and many cried when they prayed,” Samkhan said.

The village chief added that some villagers from farther afield who had heard the news of the gruesome discovery journeyed to the village to find out if the remains of their missing relatives were there.

Authorities yesterday continued to embargo any more groundwork in the area until experts could arrive to examine the one-time graveyard, now a commercial soil excavation site.

Siev Bun Sorn, 54, whose nine family members were killed in Trung Bat mountain prison, said that he was shocked and pitied his family, whom Pol Pot’s men murdered at the site.

“My anger disappeared for years, but when I saw the bones, I got angry immediately but could not let alone the thought of how much he had suffered,” Bun Sorn said, adding he had only escaped a similar fate by being transferred to a work movement unit.

He said he would be joining other mourners in a traditional Khmer ceremony once authorities allowed the public into the area.

“I am not sure I can find any bodies of my family members, because it was many years ago and they were buried in only one hole,” he said.

Vann Bunna, director of Siem Reap’s Department of Cult and Religion, said that his officials would begin research today to report to the province about the status of the bones and where they should be kept.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at titthara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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