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Villager Shot, Wounded by Private Security

A villager of the Tumpoun ethnic minority was injured Monday, when he was fired on by an armed guard for a private company in Ratanakkiri province, officials said.

The villager, identified as A Yat, 37, was gathering herbs near his home of Ba Tang commune, Lum Phat district, when a guard from DM Group shot at him.

He was injured in the leg around 9:30 am, Monday, according to Pen Bunna, investigator for the rights group Adhoc.

The provincial police commissioner, Ray Rai, said police were searching for the shooter. A group of villagers who were occupying land held by DM attacked security forces with knives, he said. The guard shot at the ground, but a bullet had ricocheted to injury the villager.

Say Cham Roeun, a representative for DM, said Monday he was not aware of the incident. He said villagers in the area were known to trespass on company land to cut rubber.

The company has a government license to operate a rubber plantation on 50,000 hectares of land. Three villagers have been arrested in the past, he said, and several others were in hiding from disputes related to the land.