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OMeanchey villagers report soldier assault

OMeanchey villagers report soldier assault

RESIDENTS of an Oddar Meanchey province border town have accused soldiers of severely beating villagers.

Sat Hary, 45, said five villagers in O’Smach commune’s Samrong town, including her son, were arrested and beaten by soldiers armed with AK-47 rifles.

She said the clashes were sparked Thursday when the soldiers accused her son and his friends of letting out air from the wheels of a soldier’s motorbike. Her son was “slightly injured” in the ensuing scuffle, she said. But the attacks continued on Saturday, when 10 soldiers allegedly returned to beat the group with belts and sticks.

Srey Naren, the coordinator for rights group Adhoc in Oddar Meanchey province, said he saw the five victims, all between the ages of 17 and 21.

“All those youths were beaten seriously on their heads and faces,” said Srey Naren, who condemned the violence. “They are soldiers. Soldiers should not use guns to threaten citizens.”

Ton Nhean, the commander in chief of Military Infantry Unit 402, to which the accused soldiers belong, said he has not received reports on the incident. But he said he was sceptical, accusing the five villagers of using drugs and sporting gaudy highlights in their hair.

“You do not believe these people so much because they always provoke problems,” he said.

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