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Political bias alleged

Four families in Oddar Meanchey province’s Samrong town have filed a complaint with their commune hall, alleging that a military official and a village chief are trying to block them from receiving land titles because the families support the Cambodian National Rescue Party.

The families and rights group Adhoc said yesterday that Major Tou Chanra asked provincial authorities to stop working toward titling 18 hectares of land for the families after seeing them campaigning for the CNRP on June 27.

They allege that village chief Seng Kimhong supported the major’s complaint for the same reasons.

The families have been involved in a land dispute with Chanra since 2008, when an unknown person sold Chanra land that the families had been farming since 2002, Choem Romduol, the families’ representative, said yesterday.

“The student volunteers measured the land for us last month, but the major interfered to stop the processing of our land titles,” she said.

Srey Naren, coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said after meeting with the families yesterday that he supported their complaint against what he called “intimidation and political discrimination”.

Phouk Thoeury, a clerk for Konkriel commune, where the families live, said the complaint alleged that Kimhong told the Samrong town governor not to help the families, because they were members of the CNRP.

The commune hall had forwarded the families’ complaint to the commune election committee, he added.

Village chief Kimhong could not be reached for comment yesterday. Samrong town governor Thon Nol said he was too busy to comment.

Konkriel commune chief Loeurng Noch said authorities were working on the case.

“We work for all kind of citizens without any political tendency,” he said.

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