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Kratie villagers bring land dispute to Hun Sen

More than 20 villagers representing nearly 200 ethnic Phnong families in Kratie province’s Chet Borey district came to Phnom Penh yesterday to seek Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention against Vietnamese agribusiness concessionaire Dotisaigon-Benhwoeuk (SBK), which they accuse of encroaching on their land.

Village representative Laonh Nhorn said that, starting on April 28, the company began destroying families’ crops and forestland. “We prevented them, [but] they threatened to shoot and jail us.

If the forest is lost, it will be difficult, because it is our traditional preserved forest, rotating farmland and high ground when it floods,” he said. Chhum Sovannra, who villagers identified as a company representative, declined to comment.

Chan Soveth from rights group Adhoc said the government should ensure indigenous communities receive adequate compensation, rather than simply “threats and court cases”.

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