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Ban on use of disputed land: state

The Banteay Meanchey provincial governor temporarily banned local villagers and a private company from using 10,000 hectares of disputed land in O’Chrou district yesterday pending an investigation.

Three representatives of residents from Thanal Bort village in O’Beichoan commune and representatives of a private firm run by tycoon Samphan Narith met yesterday to discuss the dispute with local officials and governor Ung Oeun.

Village chief Tha Sorn said yesterday that the firm claimed it had received a government land concession.

“The provincial governor forbade both parties from using the disputed land and we have to wait to see the result of the provincial hall’s investigation,” he said, adding that villagers had lived on the land since 1993.

Ouk Bang, 66, a representative of the villagers, said yesterday that the authorities seemed to side with the company.

“It is unfair because those officials know that the land belongs to the villagers,” he said.

Ouk Keo Ratanak, a provincial hall spokesman, said that officials would hold a second meeting with the two parties at Thanal Bort village this weekend.

Contact details for the company were not available.

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