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Villagers flee after sorcery accusation

Villagers flee after sorcery accusation

A man accused of being a sorcerer has fled his home in Ratanakkiri province with his wife after receiving death threats from fellow villagers, a rights worker said.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for Adhoc, said ethnic Jarai villagers Romas Vem, 66, and his wife Sev Soy, 41, from O’Yadav district’s Som Thom commune, feared for their safety after about 100 families accused Vem of sorcery.

“They expelled them from the village, threatening to kill them if they didn’t go,” he said, adding three of their relatives had also fled the village in fear.

Soy told the Post villagers had forced her husband – whom they believed had the power to make them fatally ill – to thumbprint a document agreeing to leave.

“My husband knows nothing about sorcery,” she said.

District police confirmed yesterday they had visited the village to educate families about the law.

It’s the fourth case of its kind in the district since 2010, while in 2004, a family of three was shot dead under similar circumstances in the province.

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