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Suspected logger shot by soldiers in Thailand

A 22-year-old Cambodian man accused of illegal logging in Thailand’s Sisaket province was shot by Thai soldiers Monday, continuing a recent string of attacks on Cambodian loggers along the border, officials said.

Pouth Nin, from Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district, sustained one gunshot wound to his right leg and is recovering in a Sisaket hospital, said Touch Ra, deputy chief of the Thailand-Cambodia Relations Office at the Chom border gate.

Touch Ra said the Thai soldiers involved in the incident claimed that the loggers had been the first to open fire.

“I do not believe this information,” he said. “They probably just want to put the blame on the victim.”

Seven men who were with Pouth Nin at the time of the attack escaped unharmed, said Leu Chandara, another deputy chief at the Chom office.

“We are working to find the seven men who ran from the Thai military’s crackdown,” he said. “We want them to tell us who masterminded the effort to cut trees along the border, and to stop them from entering areas that Thailand claims.”

The Thai ministry of foreign affairs and the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh declined to comment. Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Koung was not available for comment Wednesday.

Touch Ra also said Cambodia would appeal sentences handed down last Friday to 12 Cambodians accused of illegal logging after being arrested in Thailand in August. Six of the men were sentenced to eight years and four months in prison, five were given terms of five years and seven months, and another received a 15-month sentence.

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