An Environment Ministry ranger, a Military Police officer and an employee of a conservation organisation have been killed in a shootout with other Cambodian authorities near Mondulkiri’s border with Vietnam.
The three were on a forestry patrol in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary late this afternoon when a shootout erupted in O’Raing district. The police officer and ranger died at the scene, while an employee with Wildlife Conservation Society died en route to the hospital, officials confirmed today.
According to Provincial Governor Svay Sam Eng, there was a confrontation between the group and a “border force” stationed in the area, though it is unknown exactly why the shootout erupted.
Phan Setha a technical advisor for Wildlife Conservation Society based in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, confirmed that a WCS staffer had died on the way to a hospital in Sen Monorom. According to Setha, the staffer was a Geographic Information Systems surveyor, patrolling alongside officials in an area near the O'Houch border crossing with Vietnam.
He said the director of the sanctuary had told him the shootings were related to logging, but other details were unconfirmed.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap said he had been informed of the incident and that the ministry is currently gathering information.