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Families say land was taken

Families say land was taken

Nearly 90 representatives of 137 families in Battambang province, some of whom include former Khmer Rouge cadres, protested for a second day in Phnom Penh yesterday, claiming authorities had seized land they had held since the late 1990s.

Ul Yan who was among protesters at Butom Vatey pagoda, near Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house, said district and commune authorities colluded to grab 527 hectares of land in two communes in Bavel district and another in Phnom Proek district.

“Most of us have held our land since 1998, but the commune chief has taken it from us and let the volunteer youths measure it and give it to newcomers,” Yan said.

But Chhea Ny, Boeng Bram commune chief in Bavel district, said land had been taken only from people occupying areas illegally.

“Those people ... cleared and occupied land here illegally,” he said. In 2011, he added, 3,638 hectares of social land concessions were granted to poor families and former soldiers.

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