An Environment Ministry ranger, a Military Police officer and an employee of a conservation organisation have been killed in a shootout with other Cambodian authorities near Mondulkiri’s border with Vietnam. The three were in a routine forest patrol in the Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima Wildilife Sanctuary, to document and contrast the flourishing illegal trade that occurs in particular at the border with Vietnam, with the collaboration of corrupt militar.

Kong Putheara, Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary director, said that yesterday afternoon one of his rangers, along with a National Military Police official and a Wildlife Conservation Society staffer, were on patrol in O’Raing district near the O’Huch border crossing with Vietnam. The three were on a forestry patrol in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary late this afternoon when a shootout erupted in O’Raing district. The police officer and ranger died at the scene, while an employee with Wildlife Conservation Society died en route to the hospital, officials confirmed today. 

According to Provincial Governor Svay Sam Eng, there was a confrontation between the group and a “border force” stationed in the area, though it is unknown exactly why the shootout erupted. Phan Setha a technical advisor for Wildlife Conservation Society based in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, confirmed that a WCS staffer had died on the way to a hospital in Sen Monorom. According to Setha, the staffer was a Geographic Information Systems surveyor, patrolling alongside officials in an area near the O'Houch border crossing with Vietnam.
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