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Grudging arrests for murders

Grudging arrests for murders

B ATTAMBANG - Provincial authorities have reluctantly arrested two local

officials, and are seeking another, for the murders of two civilians in

February.

"I arrested the accused with tears because they have both done

a lot of things for the sake of the country," said police deputy chief Gen Moek

Dara.

Militiaman Ku Vy, 27, and policeman Mam Rin, 41, were arrested on

March 30 in Mong Russey district at the urging of human rights

groups.

They are accused of the execution-style killing of farmer Neth

Thong and Funcinpec militiaman Mov Ving at a commune in the district on Feb

5.

Gen Dara repeated allegations that the two dead had been Khmer Rouge

supporters, though their families maintain they belonged only to

Funcinpec.

According to witnesses, the deceased were detained by some 30

armed officials, led by militia chief Chhoun Ka'th, before being

killed.

Gen Dara said he believed that Ku Vy was involved in the murder

but that Mam Rin had only wandered across the scene. He said he had also

intended to arrest Chhoun Ka'th, but he had already fled the area.

He

said local police and military, along with villagers, felt concerned and

discouraged at the arrests because the murderers had only been trying to help

protect villagers.

However, he said he did not condone the murders.

"Human killing is the very lowest behavior. But what I want to say is that this

case is not connected with any political problem ... and also was not [related]

to any order from the authorities."

Ku Vy told the Post from Battambang

prison he did not know who commited the murders. He said the first he realized

he stood accused was when the authorities arrested him.

Mam Rin said he

did not have a hand in the murders at all. He said he was on his way back from

work when he met Ku Vy at the murder scene.

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