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Kratie villagers reject land offer

Villagers from Kratie province’s Snuol district
Villagers from Kratie province’s Snuol district sit in the Samaki Rainsy pagoda in Meanchey district yesterday during talks with Khuong Sreng, the deputy governor of Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Kratie villagers reject land offer

Protesters from Kratie province who have spent more than a week in a Phnom Penh pagoda while demanding authorities resolve their land row yesterday rejected an offer from the government of 750 hectares.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng announced yesterday that more than 400 families in an area of Kratie’s Snuol district would be given the land as a social land concession (SLC) and were expected to leave the pagoda and return home.

But representatives of the families said after a meeting with officials at the Samaki Rainsy pagoda in Meanchey district that the land was not big enough for them to grow crops on.

“Giving us only 750 hectares does not equate to the real size of the land we have lost, so we cannot accept it,” community representative Nguon Vibol said.

Villagers have been in dispute with Vietnamese rubber company Binh Phuoc II over more than 2,000 hectares of land they lived and farmed on, Vibol said.

Khan Chamnan, Kratie’s deputy governor, said villagers had until June 5 to return home and submit letters to the government requesting a portion of the 750 hectares.

“If the deadline passes, the authorities will consider that the families have enough land on which to live, so the case will be closed,” he said.

But the villagers said they will continue submitting petitions asking for at least 3 hectares for each family.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said villagers who stay in Phnom Penh past the deadline can expect to be met with “legal action”.

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