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Land conflict: Soldiers hold NGO workers

Land conflict
SOLDIERS in Kampong Speu province detained 13 members of the Cambodian Disabled Survivors’ Association yesterday after accusing them of trying to construct roads on land belonging to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, officials said.

Touch Seouly, the NGO’s director, said the workers were taken into custody at 8am and transferred to the RCAF Stung Chral Development Centre. Upon their release four hours later, he said, some claimed to have been beaten and shocked with electric batons.

“They took our members’ hands and tied them behind their backs, and then they used their electric batons,” he said.

He also accused the soldiers of firing shots into the air outside the centre in an attempt to disperse a crowd of 50 NGO staffers who had gathered to protest the arrests.

Mom Chheang, commander of the RCAF unit stationed at the centre, denied the abuse allegations and said the NGO members had been arrested for impinging on military land. RCAF and the CDSA have previously clashed over the land, which the CDSA says is part of a 1,500-hectare
concession it was awarded in 2000.

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