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Political killing raises fears

Political killing raises fears

T

he apparently politically-motivated killing of Funcinpec party leader Ang Kuoy

in Kampot last month has raised concern about the possible reappearance of

political killings one year after the elections.

The 51-year-old Kuoy was

the third-ranking Funcinpec official in Kampot and ran his party's provincial

election campaign. His house in Borivas village, Samrong Leu commune of Banteay

Meas district was the party's commune headquarters.

The killing occurred

at around 8.15 pm on April 19, when Ang Kuoy's house was surrounded by more than

15 men with lit flashlights wielding AK-47s and hand grenades. Kuoy tried to

leave but was stopped about 30 metres from his house.

According to a

report by the human rights organization Licadho, witnesses say that one of the

men told Kuoy: "We know you, you can go back home." Even as he turned and walked

back, he was shot in the head by someone carrying an AK-47.

The victim's

nephew Yin Nhath opened up with his own AK-47 and lobbed two hand grenades but

was also killed in the resulting crossfire. Kuoy's wife and grandchild escaped

to a relative's house, while his son was shot and injured while he tried to

escape. Kuoy and Nhath's bodies were found in a pond near the

house.

Independent investigations into the killing seem to find strong

evidence that at least some of the attackers belong to the commune militia,

which is CPP controlled.

Two policemen also died in the exchange and a

militia member called Nuon was wounded. Witnesses said he had gone to Takeo

hospital for treatment, but a visit to the hospital by Licadho found no record

of his visit.

Though police investigated the killings the next day, no

action has been forthcoming. The two policemen's bodies were found in the nearby

Phor Chhum village, and it was rumored that they had been killed by the Khmer

Rouge.

But since there were no other killings in the area on the night

of April 19, witnesses are sure they were killed in the

gunbattle.

District officers were quoted by witnesses as having issued

verbal death threats to him before the election: one is reported to have said,

"This place is not big enough for both of us; if you stay, I must go and if I

stay, you must go." Kuoy filed complaints of harassment and intimidation with

Untac 's human rights component and with Civpol in September

1992.

According to his complaint with Untac, Kuoy, a teacher at a local

high school since 1979, was questioned about his political leanings in August

1992 by the chief of Kampot's SOC education department and his deputy. He was

apparently warned that his services could be "stopped."

Kuoy, who had

not received his salary since May 1992, was suspended in September and formally

dismissed in January 1993. So afraid was he about his security that he spent

most of his time in Kampot town during the campaign, and rarely visited after

moving to Phnom Penh after the poll.

On April 18, he went to Kampot to

collect salary still due to him for his teaching work, and was told to go to the

Banteay Meas district office the next day. He stayed overnight at his home and

was killed.

So murky was the killing that before his cremation could take

place seven days later, the village chief received an anonymous letter saying

the funeral should not take place. It however, passed off without

incident.

The incident came to light nearly two weeks later early this

month. There is no indication of any Funcinpec investigation so far, and Kuoy's

family, now in Phnom Penh has received no compensation.

 

Heng Sok Chheng adds: In a separate unrelated incident four Funcinpec

policemen were found disemboweled in a shallow grave in a suspected revenge

killing by a CPP military general in the violence plagued suburb of Badurng,

Kompong Speu province Reasmey Kampuchea reported.

The four policemen,

two of whom were brothers and all described as very close long term friends, had

their stomachs cut open and livers and gall bladders removed by their

killers.

Ket Lay, a son of one of the murdered policemen told police that

on the evening of April 25 a CPP general called Sourn Tun invited one of the

victims, Sam Sophun, to go to a party in Kompong Speu.

Villagers suspect

the CPP general, who has disappeared, is behind the deaths and has stolen their

car.

It was reported the motive for the killings may have been revenge

for failure to find jobs for people who had paid the policemen bribes.

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