Fearing for their lives, three monks in Siem Reap province took refuge at the home of their village chief on Tuesday, after villagers in the community, where several people have fallen ill, accused them of sorcery.
After at least two vigilante murders of people believed to be sorcerers in Cambodia occured in 2014, the three from Svay Chrom pagoda in the province’s Angkor Chum district fear mob justice from villagers who demand they swear off practising black magic.
“[The monks] are staying temporarily at my house for safety,” said Ming Leu, a village chief in Doun Peng commune. “The villagers accused them of being sorcerers, so [the monks] dare not stay in their own houses; they are afraid of being killed.”
Nou Puthyk, provincial coordinator for rights NGO Licadho, said yesterday that the organisation will educate villagers about perilous accusations of sorcery.
“We will explain to villagers they must stop being angry with people and accusing them of sorcery without proof,” he said yesterday.