Irish journalist safe and well in Cambodia

 

An Irish journalist who was released yesterday after being detained in a jungle in north-east Cambodia since Sunday was said last night to be safe and well.

Mr Kevin Doyle (36) is to remain for the moment in Banlung, capital of the Ratannakiri province in the north-east of the country.

Mr Doyle, editor of the Cambodia Daily, had been working on a story about Vietnamese refugees at the time of his detention, the publisher of the newspaper, Mr Bernie Krisher, said last night.

The Irishman, another journalist, a human rights worker and 17 refugees were detained by authorities in the neighbouring province of Mondulkiri.

Mr Krisher told The Irish Times last night that he had not been seriously concerned for Mr Doyle's safety. He also said it was unclear why the three men were held. Mr Doyle's account of what took place would be appearing in today's edition of the Cambodia Daily, he added.

Mr Doyle's brother, Mr Robert Doyle, said yesterday that he had spoken to him briefly in the afternoon. Kevin was "a bit tired" but it was "nothing that a cup of coffee wouldn't sort out", he said.

His brother would not be available to talk about his experiences until today, after his story appeared in the Cambodia Daily, Mr Doyle added.

The other men detained with Mr Doyle were a reporter from Cambodia's Radio Free Asia, Mr Sok Rathavisal, and Mr Pen Bunna of a human rights group, Adhoc.

The group were detained on Sunday in O Leav, deep in the jungle of north-east Cambodia, where many Montagnard refugees from Vietnam had been hiding for weeks. The refugees, who are Christian, claim to be fleeing persecution in Vietnam.

Mr Bunna was trying at the time to locate 17 more Montagnards and bring them to safety, when all were detained.

Mr Krisher said last night he understood that the three men were free to leave, but Mr Bunna was concerned for the refugees and the three had decided to stay.