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Troops accused of killings

Troops accused of killings

S ON DAN commune, Kratie-Several villagers in this commune claim that they have been mistreated and their sons and husbands killed by government soldiers after being accused of being Khmer Rouge accomplices.

During interviews with the Post on Oct 7, villagers in Son Dan commune in Kratie's Sam Bor district said the accusation was made because they gave food to KR guerrillas operating about 12 km northeast of the commune.

Villagers in the commune, which is 15 km north of Kratie town, admitted that they provided supplies like rice, chicken, beef, eggs and pork to the KR guerrillas, but denied being accomplices.

"We are not KR accomplices. We were afraid of being killed, so we decided to provide food to them. This is only to avoid death," said 47-year-old villager Man Sok.

Man Sok said that he and his family have never been KR spies, nor have they provided information to KR guerrillas about attacking government army positions.

"But my family was alleged to be KR spies, and one of my sons was shot by government soldiers in late July," he said.

Sok said he and his wife cried and tried to tell the soldiers that they were not KR accomplices and had only given the guerrillas food.

"But they [government soldiers] did not believe me, they still killed my son. The soldiers committed barbarous acts like Vietnamese soldiers, they are Khmers, but they don't act like Khmers," said a weeping Vong Sary, wife of Man Sok.

Chan Sopheap, who claimed her husband was killed by government soldiers in August, said that KR guerrillas came from their base at night time and asked for food.

"They go back to their base after they have received food, they have never mistreated me or the other villagers. Because I say this, it does not mean that I like the KR or that I support them. I am not happy when they ask me for something. But I have to give food to them for my family's safety," said Sopheap.

But, she says, her husband was killed after being accused of being a KR sympathizer.

"On Aug 13, a band of 25 KR guerrillas arrived at the commune at around 7 pm and clashed with government soldiers, "she said

She said after the 90 minutes of fighting, the KR guerrillas were pushed back by some 40 government soldiers to their base. But soon a group of seven soldiers came to her house and asked her husband to come out of the house. "When he came down, the soldiers said my husband was a KR accomplice and shot him to death in front of the house," she said.

Gen Sok Sa Em, commander at Kratie military headquarters, told the Post that most of the people in Sam Bor district were KR accomplices and always reported to the guerrillas on when and how to attack his soldiers.

"The villagers did not only provide supplies to the KR, but also tell them to attack us," Gen Em said. The general added that though the villagers were not faithful to his soldiers, he has never ordered his soldiers to kill villagers. "I would like to promise that I will investigate the claim and bring justice to the villagers," Gen Em said.

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