Chum Kiri Chamkar Knor Pagoda
Posted by khmernews on January 4, 2007
Chum Kiri Chamkar Knor Pagoda: Killing Field Where Victims’ Corpses Buried along Both Sides of Roads Because Killers and Prisoners Responsible for Carrying Corpses Exhausted
Serei Saophoan, Banteay Meanchey: Like other pagodas in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, Chum Kiri Chamkar Knor pagoda and valleys of two nearby hills, which are located in Ou Ambel village, Serei Saophoan district in Banteay Meanchey province, became a killing field of thousands of people. To achieve a killing plan, at the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, Angkar ordered its cadres to kill a lot of people. As a result, the killers (Khmer Rouge cadres) and prisoners who responsible for carrying victims’ dead bodies became exhausted and they couldn’t bring the corpses to be buried at the planned graves. Instead, they buried the corpses along the roadsides and in the valleys of the nearby hills by using bulldozers.
An elder man Chhuon Bonn, a Buddhist elder of Sopeak Monkul pagoda in Serei Saophoan, said that an area in Chum Kiri Chamkar Knor’s compound stretching to the Mekong Children Center (Ou Ambel village, Ou Ambel commune) that covered about hundreds of hectares of land was Khmer Rouge killing field where thousands of people were killed. After killing, Khmer Rouge cadres ordered Angkar’s prisoners to transport the corpses by carts or to carry them to be buried in that area. The prisoners used bulldozers to level the land upon the graves. The killers did like this because they were completely exhausted and couldn’t carry the corpse to the organized graves, and because at that time (1978) the Khmer Rouge south-west leaders ordered them to kill lots of people.
“Because they were completely exhausted, Khmer Rouge cadres and prisoners buried the corpses along the both sides of the roads. If I hadn’t begged Khmer Rouge militiamen and soldiers for mercy, they would have killed me because I didn’t follow the Angkar’s instructions,” he added.
Mr. Kan Chhoeun, an important witness and lives in Prohut village of Ou Ambel commune, said, “I saw the event with my own eyes. 1978 was the year that Khmer Rouge caught, tied people with a long string, and then led them to be killed near Chamkar Knor pagoda. I didn’t know that that time was close to the collapse of Khmer Rouge regime. I thought that Khmer Rouge would be in power for many years more.” He went on to say that the area from the pagoda’s compound up to Chon Chang mountain, located in Ou Abel and Tuek Thnla commune, was a killing field and graves of thousands of people.
The killings had been done both day and night to achieve a plan set by the south-west Khmer Rouge. The victims were taken from cannel digging sites and rice paddy fields around Serei Soaphaon district. In the killing fields, there were hundreds of hoes, bamboo sticks, and Sankae (tree) sticks. Some victims did not immediately die after their heads were beaten with those sticks.
Mr. Kan Chhoeun further said that at the beginning of 1979, it was seen that there were a lot of swollen and stinking corpses and bones in those areas. Cows, dogs that survived from the regime couldn’t eat the corpses away. Until 1981 when Sopheak Monkul pagoda was constructed, a monk chief Poy Chroek and other Buddhist elders asked travelers who wanted to stay and to eat in the pagoda to take the victims’ bones from a small stream (near Cambodian-Thai border) to be kept in the pagoda. The travelers were offered Riel 10 per sack of bones. A couple whose names were Mr. Soeun and Mrs. Boeun was recorded as people who could collect the most victims’ bones.
He added that he believed that there have been some victims who survived from the killing field. And now a number of the killers and prisoners responsible for carrying and using bulldozers to level upon the graves are still alive. Therefore, if those killers are not afraid of their past shadow after reading the Searching for the Truth Magazine published by the Document Center of Cambodia and Rasmei Kampuchea’s page of moving toward Khmer Rouge trial, they will appear to give more information on that killing field.
Extracted from: Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 14, #4125, Sunday-Monday 05-06 November 2006