Khmernews

Bak Keiy Mountain foot: Villagers Killed for ‘Betraying their Country’

Posted by khmernews on December 13, 2006

People from three villages Svay Sor, Ta Duos and Prasad Vein were killed during 1977-1978 at the foot of Bak Keiy mountain. The 50-60 victims were accused of betraying their country by telling their relatives to escape to the Thai border.

Before 1970, Svay Sa village was the administrative centre for four villages which had 100 families. These villages are presently known as Svay Sa, Ta Duol and Prasat Vien. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, Angka created a community called Svay Sa-Ponley that played an important role in building canals and the Ponley dam. The canal went from Svay Sa village in Phkoam commune in Svay Chek to a village in Ponley ommune, Phnom Srok. The community was also ordered to do farming and clear land for plantations at the foot of a mountain, said Sa Linh Deurm, today Svay village chief.

In the western region, people over 60 years old were forced to do heavy work although they did have enough food and innocent people were not arrested to kill. Although not to commend the actions of the Khmer Rouge, villagers have said that local people were not greatly bothered.

When the Angka evacuated people from the East and South-West region to Phnom Srok, Svay Chek and Thma Puok district in 1976-1977, unexpectedly the Khmer Rouge put them in a virtual prison with little food, water and access to medical attention until their death. In 1977, the Khmer Rouge from the South-West won over the territory of the Khmer Rouge in the North West and a lot of people from the North West were arrested, jailed, tortured and killed.

“The South-West was full of anger with the East even after they won this territory and went on to execute and kill all people in these villages. The Khmer Rouge arrested any individual or family that tried to escape to the Thai border” said the village chief.

The Khmer Rouge alleged all those killed people of betraying their country for trying to run to neighbouring Thailand, he said.

People in the three villages were killed and buried at the foot of Bak Keiy Mountain which is covered with thick forests, said people who lived in the village.

In Pha Kurm commune most people were killed in Moa and Yang Vein villages. New evacuators including Kong Samearn’s wife, a famous Khmer actor in 1975 also died there, said some witnesses in the commune.

However, 30 years after the genocide, it is hard to find any indicators of genocide such as mass graves, or skeletons. The only source is witnesses. Even so the canals built and irrigation systems developed during the period resulted in the loss of many lives and this is clear evidence to show the cruel torture of the genocide regime, the witness said

Extracted from: Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.14, #4119, Sun-Mon 29-30 October 2006

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