Cambodians who fled Vietnamese invaders 25 years ago found in jungle

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  1. trickblue

    trickblue Not Old School...Old Testament...

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    Cambodians who fled Vietnamese invaders 25 years ago found in jungle

    PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Seven Cambodian families have been found living wild in remote jungle where they had been hiding since 1979 from Vietnamese troops who left the country 15 years ago.

    The 34 hill tribe people, who lived off birds, wild plants and wore clothes made of tree bark and leaves, had been out of touch with the outside world since fleeing invading Vietnamese forces.

    The group, which included 20 women, fled their homes as Vietnamese troops swept across the border and toppled the genocidal Khmer Rouge (news - web sites) regime of Pol Pot in 1979 and occupied Cambodia for the next decade.

    "They escaped the Vietnamese soldiers... and after that they received no information from our authorities or the Laotians," Pen Bunna of rights group Adhoc told AFP after meeting officials involved with the case.

    "They thought Vietnamese soldiers were still in charge of the area."

    The group included a couple of Khmer Rouge fighters and ranged from a baby aged only a few days old to a 55-year-old man, said officials.

    They have lived a nomadic life in a remote border area living in huts under the thick jungle canopy but many were found suffering from malaria and other diseases.

    They were only discovered when arrested earlier this month by Laotian officials after wandering across the border from Cambodia's northeastern Ratanakiri province.

    "They are like wild people, they know nothing," said Kham Khoeun, the governor of Ratanakiri, who collected them from Laotian authorities. "They have received no information from the country and the world. At first they were so frightened."

    They were wandering around an area known as Dragon's Tail, a wedge of land in Cambodia's northeast that borders Laos and Vietnam, known as the "wild east" and one of the most inaccessible parts of the country.

    Only three members of the group spoke the national language, Khmer. Hill tribes regularly move villages every few years and have little in common with mainstream Khmer life.

    They will be reunited with members of their families they left behind later this week, said Kham Khoeun. He said he encountered a similar group in 1996, rescuing nine hill tribe members but the rest fled. ​
  2. DallasCowpoke111

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