Provincial police in Mondulkiri claim the shootout which killed three people in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary on Tuesday evening happened after a number of Vietnamese motorbikes carrying timber were seized.
Police released the primary result of the investigation into the shootout, which happened in Mondulkiri’s O’Raing district while patrols were cracking down on illegal logging.
According to a report from the provincial police in Mondulkiri sent to National Police Chief General Neth Savoeun, the dead included military police, an environment officer and staff at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and was provoked by police officers and two soldiers from border units.
“The reason for the shooting was because military police, an environment officer and a staffer at WCS went to catch eight motorcycles from Vietnam which were carrying timber and chainsaws,” the report said.
The incident happened on Tuesday at about 4-5pm approximately 25 kilometres from the O’Role Border Police Post in O’Raing district’s Sen Monorom commune, Pouyam village.
The Environment Ministry on Wednesday sent letters of condolence to the families of those who died during a mission to protect the country’s natural resources.
The ministry has identified the victims – Tern Soknai, an environment officer, Sek Vathana, a National Military Police officer, and Thol Kna, who worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Authorities say a full report into the incident will be released as soon as possible.
Full story in Thursday’s paper.