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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Samtse police after the killers

Thimphu: The Samtse police have sought the assistance of the Sashas­tra Seema Bal (SSB) and the officer in command at the police outpost in the neighboring Indian town of Nakata to track down those responsible for kill­ing two Bhutanese women on August 26.
While a police officer in Samtse said the four men who were seen in the vicinity of the victims’ house on the day of the killing have not been established as culprits as yet, Bhutan TODAY sources said the father of one of the men has given the police a vital lead.
The father was return­ing home from work in Ghumauney when he was stopped at the bor­der checkpoint by RBA soldiers and handed over to the police for question­ing. In his statement to the police, he said that his son, who he claimed had earlier killed his own grandfather besides serv­ing two years in Indian prison, had committed the crime.
Known as a violent man, sources say the son is a notorious criminal who often beats up his own parents although he lives separately with his wife who works in the tea gardens in the village of Baskari.
In a telephone interview with Bhutan TODAY, Pema the husband of the 47-year old victim, Pel­kimo, said that the killing was possibly planned in advance. “They had sur­veyed who were present in the house and knew exactly where the valuable ornaments were kept,” he said.
Pema who works as a revenue officer in Samtse dzongkhag was away in Chengmari on an official tour when his wife and her 70-year old mother, Sonam Zangmo, were brutally murdered in broad day­light. He found later that the killers had taken two sets of gold-plated Koma (brooch), one four-eyed Dzi (cat’s eye artifact), a necklace, a gold-plated chain and Nu 7,000 in cash.
The crime was first seen by the younger two of Pema’s four daughters who had gone home from school for lunch. They found the house in a mess – the front door, the kitchen and the bedroom were bolted up and the gas stove was still on.
“Looks like she (his wife) was in the process of preparing tea,” Pema said.
His wife was found lying in a pool of blood with her hands and legs tied. There were cut marks on her body and hand indicating that she had tried to fight back.
The body of his mother in-law was found in a simi­lar state in the bedroom.
One of his daughters informed their neighbor of the crime and then rang him up. He then reported the incident to the police in Chengmari.
Pema feels that his second eldest daughter who was helping with some work at a neighbor’s house could have been killed, too, had she been at home.
His eldest daughter is doing the final year of her BA course in Sherubtse College. The two youngest daughters are studying in classes VII and VI respec­tively in Ghumauney.
“This incident will never be erased from our mind,” Pema said.
The bodies of the vic­tims will be cremated on Monday.
Meanwhile, the killings have the local residents wondering they could be the next.
Many of them have adopted Samtse as their home under the govern­ment’s resettlement pro­gram. They have tilled the barren soil, built homes and raised their children. For several years, they have lived in relative peace, until this incident happened.
“It appears that the se­curity is not very strong,” said a resettled housewife.
“Anyone can come, rob and kill us.”
She added: “We are scared; the government should do something.”
The victims were from Yangtse village, Ramtsi gewog, in Trashiyangtse and had resettled in Sam­tse in 2000.

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