A Battambang village has been left shattered after an eight-year-old girl was raped and brutally murdered by as many as four men on Sunday and two young boys who witnessed the crime were killed by the suspects, police say.
Two men were arrested yesterday in Daun Ba commune’s Teuk Thmem village after the missing children’s distraught families found the victims’ bodies and contacted police.
Commune police chief Chan Piseth said authorities had raided the residence of two drug addicts in the village and found a plethora of methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia.
He said the suspects had confessed to raping and slashing the throat of the girl, then piercing her in the stomach with a knife, then chasing her nine- and 11-year-old male friends who had witnessed the crime, stabbing them to death.
The suspects allegedly said they had murdered the boys “to erase the witness evidence”.
Piseth said the three children had been playing and tending to cattle about 300 metres behind the village when the crime occurred.
All three victims’ bodies had been left in the humid, forested fields of the Koas Kralor district village for more than five days.
“The perpetrators are drug users,” Piseth said, adding the suspects had been detained in the provincial prison while the investigation continues.
Two other accomplices were being questioned, he said.
The grandmother and aunt of the two boys sobbed as she recounted the last time she had seen them.
“They have lived with me since they were five months old, when their parents moved to Thailand to work,” she said.
A funeral for the three had begun yesterday, she said.
Yin Mengly, provincial co-ordinator for the human-rights group Adhoc, called it “rare” for the area and “incredibly tragic”.
UNICEF Cambodia spokeswoman Denise Shepherd-Johnson said the organisation was “shocked and deeply concerned”, adding that it would call for a transparent investigation and for the perpetrators to be held accountable for their “despicable actions”.
To contact the reporters on this story: Kim Sarom and Claire Knox at [email protected]