Gunmen allegedly opened fire on a village representative, his family and two others as they travelled in a car in Battambang province on Sunday. A 16-year-old passenger was injured in what police claim was an attempted murder related to a land dispute.
Chhea Ny, 38, a representative of 1,700 families in Bavel district’s Ampil Pram Doeum commune, said yesterday that three men had fired shots from about 10 metres away as he drove his wife, son and two villagers. “They tried to kill me and my wife but the bullet ricocheted, injuring a boy [in the car],” he said.
He claims that he had been targeted by neighbouring villagers with whom his village was embroiled in a 3,000-hectare land dispute.
Dy Sareth, district deputy police chief, said yesterday that police were examining spent AK-47 assault rifle cartridges found at the scene of the shooting and had recovered a mobile phone thought to belong to one of the assailants.
“It was an attempt to kill Chhea Ny and his wife and we have suspects. I think it was caused by a land dispute,” he said, without providing further details.
Seak Sorphear, a district military officer, said that police had questioned two suspects, but had yet to make any arrests.
Yin Meangly, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that Chhea Ny’s village was awarded a government land concession in 2006, and that tensions between the two villages erupted in March after Chhea Ny attempted to demarcate the land.