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‘Loggers’ fired on; two dead, two missing at border

‘Loggers’ fired on; two dead, two missing at border

Thai soldiers shot dead two Cambodians last Wednesday after they crossed the border from Oddar Meanchey province, an official said, while two others are missing after a separate border shooting in a district nearby.

On Wednesday, Thai soldiers opened fire on Sorn Tha, 23, and his brother Sorn Sen, 15, who had been trying to log illegally, said Vaing Sen, deputy chief of Thnol Keng village in Trapaing Prasat district’s Pha’av commune.

“They were shot in the neck and died,” Sen said. Both bodies were retrieved by family members two days later.

A third villager suffered severe back injuries while two others escaped.

“This year, more than 10 Oddar Meanchey villagers have been shot dead,” said Srey Naren of rights group Adhoc, who condemned the violence and criticised border police for spineless measures and a lack of enforcement in cracking down on the luxury timber trade.

In a similar incident in Anlong Veng district last Monday, Thai soldiers opened fire on a group of 12 villagers intent on crossing the border.

Two villagers went missing and one, An Ra, 28, was badly wounded, said Ouern Orn, a village chief in Banteay Srei district’s Run Ta Ek commune.

Nine escaped safely, and Ra is now on the mend, Orn said.

One of the two missing villagers has been identified as a soldier.

Last week’s border skirmishes continue a growing history of violence.

According to the Cambodia-Thai Border Relations Office, 45 Cambodians were shot dead in 2012 after crossing illegally into Thai territory.

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