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Areng villagers block dam assessment team

Villagers entered into a tense stand-off with representatives of a company hired to study the potential environmental impact of the Stung Cheay Areng dam in Koh Kong province yesterday, according to an activist.

Two representatives of Sawac Consultants for Development attempted to access the valley yesterday morning, but were blocked by villagers who asked that they leave, Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, the founder of local NGO Mother Nature, said yesterday.

“Two Sawac guys in the valley being confronted by community members and activists. Company refusing to leave and . . . 8 soldiers there too, which of course makes things more tense,” he said by text message.

Sawac representatives could not be reached as mobile phone signal coverage does not yet extend to the valley. China’s Sinohydro Group is assessing whether to invest in building the dam, a project that has been ditched by two previous investors.

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