Police in Mondulkiri province yesterday arrested a military officer who is a suspect in a shooting that killed three people during an operation to crack down on illegal logging.
Provincial police chief Ouk Samang told Khmer Times that 37-year-old military officer Kert Veha came to confess on Wednesday night.
He is in police custody for further questioning, while two other suspects remain at large, the police chief added.
“We have arrested one now. And our police are continuing questioning,” Mr Samnang said, adding that officers were following procedures to arrest the other suspects.
The shooting, which killed three people in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary on Tuesday evening, occurred after the group came across a number of Vietnamese with motorbikes carrying timber.
The incident took place between 4pm and 5pm, approximately 25 kilometres from the O’Role border police post in Pouyam village, in O’Raing district’s Sen Monorom commune.
The victims were forest ranger Tern Soknai, National Military Police officer Sek Vanthana and Wildlife Conservation official Thol Kna.
Deputy provincial police chief So Sovann said his police forces were cooperating with military police to hunt the remaining suspects.
“The military officer who came to confess said he had just accompanied them. The shooter was the police officer,” he said. WCS country director Ken Sereyrotha expressed deep condolences to all of the families, friends and colleagues of the victims.
“Three Cambodian conservation heroes were shot and killed while on patrol in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said.
Mr Sereyrotha said circumstances surrounding the incident were still unclear, adding his organisation was cooperating with government officials on the investigation.
National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said the investigation, which is being conducted by the task force committee against illegal logging, was still in progress.
“I haven’t received the report yet because the investigation is ongoing, so I can’t comment” he said.