A soldier employed by DM Group, a development firm involved in a land dispute with villagers in Ratanakkiri, shot a young man in Lumphat district’s Kaleng commune on Monday, seriously injuring his right leg.
Im Den, 20, was fired at three times by a soldier protecting DM Group land after he went to guard soy beans his family had harvested on a plot they leased from the company, the victim’s family and police said.
The victim’s sister, Im Khun, said her brother was cursed at by soldiers guarding the adjacent company land, leading to a heated argument with soldier Eam Oeun, who ultimately fired three shots from his AK-47.
Lumphat district police chief Soy Phay said village security forces had arrested Eam Oeun immediately and he had confessed to the shooting.
“It was an illegal action the soldier used – he needs to be condemned by law,” Soy Phay said. But he said the soldiers in Lumphat district had asked that the suspect be transferred to their authority before deciding whether he will receive administrative punishment or be sent to court.
It is not the first time villagers and DM Group security have clashed. Villagers have previously accused the company’s security forces of employing electric batons during disputes, and in June, 2009 a police officer working for DM Group shot a villager in the thigh.
Company representative Say Chamroeun did not answer his phone yesterday.