Rights group Adhoc has released a statement condemning an alleged attack on three ethnic minority villagers who were injured by a company’s security guard in Mondulkiri’s Pech Chreada district on Saturday, while police have summoned the company’s manager and chief of staff for questioning.
A security guard from LKL Company shot at five villagers from the Phnong minority group, injuring three, although it remains unclear if the shooter was firing a warning shot or aiming at the victims.
After receiving complaints from the victims and investigating the case, Adhoc released a letter yesterday condemning the shooting as an “attempt to intentionally murder ethnic villagers and violate their rights”, appealing to authorities to find the suspect, who escaped.
The letter said three security guards armed with an AK-47 and a chainsaw loudly shouted at the villagers to leave a rock they were sitting on as they hunted in a community forest.
Suddenly, a security guard dressed in military fatigues shot at the rock, shattering it and injuring three villagers.
The letter claims the security guards shouted that they “only wanted to shoot the villagers in the leg” and called their boss, a man known as Kim, to bring the villagers’ motorbikes to the company.
Commune police told the Post on Sunday that the shot was fired at the rock to warn the villagers.
Two men, 19-year-old Bos Kus and Tek Ngeam, 28, were hit, along with one 16-year-old boy, Him Kem. Kus and Kem were slightly injured while Ngeam sustained more serious wounds and is currently recovering at a provincial hospital.
The three villagers filed a complaint with the provincial court, demanding $1,000 in compensation.
According to Adhoc activist Sok Rattha, LKL does not have a land concession to exploit the forest, which the villagers had depended on, but banned the villagers from entering it anyway. Rattha also claimed the guards were hired from among provincial military police.
Sou Sovann, Mondulkiri province deputy police chief, said LKL’s manager and Kim, its chief of staff, have been called in for questioning.
Sovann said the identity of the shooter remains unknown, but condemned private guards’ use of assault weapons.
“Police forces are working to obtain information about the shooter and will invite the company manager for interrogation immediately,” Sovann said.