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(Reuters) – United Nations refugee officials will visit northeast Cambodia on Wednesday to check reports that dozens of Christian “Montagnard” asylum-seekers from neighbouring Vietnam are hiding in the jungle.

The visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will be the first trip to the remote region since Cambodia ‘s government forced it to shut down its provincial offices last year under pressure from Vietnam .

“We believe there are some Montagnards up there. That is why we proposed to the government to go and see the situation,” Thamrongsak Meechubot of UNHCR in Phnom Penh said on Tuesday.

A steady stream of Montagnards — minority hilltribesmen who practise an unorthodox form of Protestanism — has been trickling over the border after land rights and religious protests in April in Vietnam ‘s coffee-growing Central Highlands.

Nearly 100 have completed the difficult trip to the UNHCR headquarters in Phnom Penh from the remote northeastern provinces of Ratanakiri and Mondolkiri.

It is impossible to say how many more have either died in the jungle or been turned back by Cambodian troops. There have been several reports of Cambodian soldiers rounding up Montagnards and handing them back to Vietnamese police for a bounty.

“We have a lot of information from the media along with pictures of Montagnards. That is strong evidence that we need to go and address the urgent needs for those people,” Thamrongsak said.

Around 1,000 Montagnards who fled Vietnam to U.N. refugee camps in Cambodia in 2001 have been granted permanent asylum in the United States .