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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Koh Kong villagers complain to Hun Sen over disputed land

Koh Kong villagers complain to Hun Sen over disputed land

VILLAGERS from Koh Kong province's Tuol Korki commune in Mondul Seima district filed a complaint to Prime Minister Hun Sen's cabinet last week over a land dispute with the provincial Forestry Administration.

Cha Rien, 45, a representative for the group of more than 200 families, said that his group filed their complaint with Hun Sen's office last Wednesday, in the hope that the prime minister would help them reclaim land that many families claim to have lived on for decades.

The Forestry Administration, however, says the villagers are squatting in a wildlife conservation zone.

"Local authorities know we have lived here for years," Cha Rien said, adding that many of the families cultivate farmland in the area.

Lim Leang Se, the deputy chief of Hun Sen's cabinet, said on Monday that his office had not received the complaint from the villagers, and that he could not comment on the case.

Kim Sok Khem, chief of Tuol Korki commune, said that in addition to complaining to Hun Sen's office, villagers lodged a complaint with the provincial governor, Yuth Puthang, on July 30. Officials from the governor's office told the commune members that more investigation was required in the case and asked them to remain calm, Kim Sok Khem added.

Villagers will stage a protest in Phnom Penh if their problem remains unresolved, Cha Rien said. "We are waiting for a resolution from Prime Minister Hun Sen," he said.

Mak Heang, chief of the Forestry Administration in Koh Kong province, could not be reached for comment on Monday.

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