Mondulkiri provincial police have sent the case of six suspects involved in the recent murder of an indigenous family in Pech Chreada district to court for further legal action.

The brutal murder of the Bunong indigenous family took place on February 1 at Prey Chot point in Me Pai village of the district’s Pou Chrei commune. Five people were killed and the sole survivor, a 12-year-old boy, suffered serious injuries. He is being treated at a hospital in Phnom Penh.

Provincial deputy police chief So Sovann told The Post that, after a four-day search, the provincial police and forensic experts from the Ministry of Interior, along with investigative experts from the NGO Child Protection Unit, located and arrested the six suspects.

He identified three of the suspects as Nuon Vanna, 54; Rim Khin, 18; and Rim Thea, 27. The three others, who are members of the Bunong ethnic minority, are Kloeng Chanthy, 40; Chanthy Mpeak, 18; and Chanthy Pchoeurt, 14.

Sovann said that, upon questioning by police officers from the Serious Crimes Bureau of the provincial police, the six suspects admitted to killing the members of the family because, the suspects alleged, they had practiced witchcraft that caused the six to fall ill in the past few months.

Citing their confessions, the police chief said Vanna and Chanthy had orchestrated the killings, while their children and nephews conducted the beatings. Before they acted, Mpeak asked his father Chanthy where he should attack the victim so that he would not be able to fight back. The father told him to either hit their necks or break their legs first.

Mpeak allegedly said: “My brother-in-law, Thea, and I, and his brother, Khin, were the ones who beat the victims with sticks, and my brother Pchoeurt was the one who stabbed the victims with the sword. My father and my brother-in-law told us to kill the victims, saying that they knew how to practise witchcraft.

“I beat Krack Sly [the boy who survived the attempted murder] with a stick in his right temple and my brother-in-law added three more hits to the middle of his back and legs,” he said.

“He laid down on the ground and my brother Pchoeurt thought he was dead and did not continue stabbing him like he did with the other victims. All six of us then came back home pretending not to know [what had happened] so that the villagers and the authorities would not suspect anything,” Mpeak was quoted as telling the police.

Sovann added that after the six suspects confessed, the police added the charge of premeditated murder and sent the case to the provincial court.

Provincial court spokesman Seav NgyChhoan confirmed to The Post on February 7 that the six suspects and their cases have been referred to the prosecutor.

“At the moment, the six suspects are being questioned by Meas Vathana, the deputy prosecutor,” he said.