Farmers in Banteay Meanchey province’s Thma Puok district on Thursday were allowed to retrieve cassava from land on which the military wants to construct a base, but a representative said they had been threatened with reprisals if they continue to complain about an ongoing clearance operation. “Military officials threatened to confiscate our mini-tractors if we complain. But at least they are allowing us to collect cassava we have planted on the land,” said representative Long Than, 58, who claims to have lived in Thma Dekkes village since 1993. “We must be patient so we can sell cassava at the market to earn money, because we know we won’t receive compensation for our land.” Soldiers from Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Brigade 51 began clearing the 200-hectare disputed area last week, Long Than said. He added that about 100 families could lose their farmland if plans for the base go forward. Brigade 51 Commander So Chan Heng on Thursday denied that farmers had been intimidated. “They are still allowed to plough, but they cannot work on plots of land where construction is set for,” he said.
RCAF dispute: Cassava crop retrieved on base land