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Police end probe into Kratie protest claims

Villagers and security personnel clash at a land dispute protest in Kratie province’s Snuol district this month. Fresh News
Villagers and security personnel clash at a land dispute protest in Kratie province’s Snuol district this month. Fresh News

Police end probe into Kratie protest claims

An interior Ministry spokesman on Tuesday confirmed that police officials had ended their investigation into claims security personnel fired on protesters in Kratie province, finding allegations they had killed demonstrators to be untrue.

Security officials on March 8 opened fire on protesters at Memot Rubber Plantation in Snuol district, with initial reports from an official with rights group Adhoc that six individuals had been killed and 40 injured. The official has since said he was conveying second-hand information, and two other residents took back their initial claims of seeing at least two deaths.

The investigation only looked into whether or not casualties had taken place, not into why security forces had fired shots, injuring at least two people.

“We already finished the investigation. There is no such case as what the Radio Free Asia has reported that six people were dead and 40 people injured,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak.

Read more: Villagers flee rubber plantation where security personnel fired on protesters in Kratie province

Sopheak was referring to a Radio Free Asia story based on a villager’s account that there had been six people killed during the shooting, a death count also initially reported by The Post. The Ministry of Information has asked for a correction from the broadcaster.

Observers and reporters were denied access to the site of the protest after the demonstration.

“We have still have not closed our investigation. The investigation is very complicated because the authorities are not cooperating with us,” said Adhoc land rights coordinator Soeung Sen Karuna.

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