Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More patrols in Ratanakkiri

More patrols in Ratanakkiri

Six of the 18 ethnic Montagnards pose for a photo in Ratanakkiri province
Six of the 18 ethnic Montagnards pose for a photo in Ratanakkiri province on Wednesday after fleeing across the border from Vietnam to escape persecution. ADHOC

More patrols in Ratanakkiri

Dozens of police officers and security guards are again trawling Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadav district in search of 32 Montagnards hiding out in the hope of obtaining UN assistance and safe refuge in Cambodia, according to local villagers assisting them and a rights monitor.

The influx of 18 more Montagnards into the northeastern province from Vietnam on Wednesday, adding to the 14 asylum seekers already in hiding in the province, sparked police patrols in Yatong commune, said a local ethnic Jarai villager who declined to be named for his safety.

“The police and security forces have been inspecting in Lom, Som and Dor villages on Wednesday and yesterday. They are searching in forests, rice fields and farms,” he said.

Provincial police chief Nguon Keurn and his deputy, Chea Bunthoeun, declined to comment. Chhuob Vanarak, the O’Yadav police chief, claimed he was unaware that more Montagnards had arrived or of any police searches.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, confirmed the villager’s report.

According to the villager, the groups of Montagnards are hiding separately. But he said that it had been difficult to find safe hiding places for them given the large numbers now present.

Montagnards are an indigenous group from Vietnam’s central highlands.

The recent group of 18 has claimed they were mistreated by Vietnamese authorities and decided to flee to Cambodia, another Jarai villager said. He said they walked through the jungles for three days without food or water.

“Now we only have rice and salt.… Please, UN, take them soon,” the villager said.

The UN rights office did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,