An ethnic Jarai couple accused of sorcery and forced out of their village in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadaw district have failed to have their expulsion overturned by local officials, with former neighbors threatening to kill the pair if they return.
Local authorities have held three meetings with villagers since Romas Vem, an 80-year-old traditional healer, and his wife, Sev Soy, 50, were accused last week of practicing black magic, but have been unable to negotiate the couple’s return home, district police chief Ma Vichet said.
At the meetings, police told the villagers that there was no concrete evidence of sorcery. The villagers, however, believe that Mr. Vem had been cheating his ill neighbors out of money for treatment, said Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local human rights group Adhoc.
The Jarai appear to be a superstitious culture: The majority of Jarai are animists; believing that demons inhabit all of creation. Sacrifices of pigs, cows, and buffalo are periodically made to the spirits to appease them.
Irate villagers chopped down their spice crop assuming it was used in black magic rituals.
Is this a cultural feud? Hard to tell from such limited information but there is certainly a huge gap in understanding.