PLANS to forcibly evict residents from Kraya commune in Kampong Thom’s Santuk district have been put on hold for a further 48 hours.
Santuk district Governor Pich Sophea met with 20 commune representatives on Wednesday, who asked for more time to relay messages back to the commune. “If, in two days, they still refuse to move from the village, we will stop negotiating and evict them,” Pich Sophea said.
On November 16, villagers burned several vehicles owned by Vietnamese rubber firm Tin Bien, which was granted the 8,000-hectare area in an economic land concession in 2007.
The same plot has been home to hundreds of disabled veterans and their families since 2004. Their right to live on the land was acknowledged by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2007, shortly before the land was sold, villagers say.
Pou Kin, one of the representatives, said the reprieve was unlikely to end peacefully. “I think violence will not be avoided because both sides are still clinging to their own policy,” he said. “The authorities have asked us to move to a new location, but I need to take this news to my villagers – most of whom have already said they will not move.”