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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ratanakkiri villagers claim mountain

Ratanakkiri villagers claim mountain

Minority villagers from Ratanakkiri’s O’Chum district climbed up a mountain to a community forest yesterday morning to challenge a company they claim is illegally felling their trees.

One of the villagers, 40-year-old Kamplor Sernor, told the Post that 78 Kroeung minority villagers gathered on the mountain yesterday morning in a bid to prevent CRD Company from clearing any more of their land.

“We protested many times since the company started to clear our community forest last year, but they did not stop. They have already cleared 200 hectares to plant rubber,” he explained.

“We need our land for the next generation,” said fellow villager Tames Lum Av, 42.

But Chhay Thy, a coordinator with rights group Adhoc, said there was confusion about who owned the land.

“The company claims that the area belongs to them be­cause the state provided it as a land concession, and the minority group claims that it is a community forest that the state provided,” he said.

Saing Chanta, an employee of CRD Company, could not be reached for comment.

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