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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Residents ask to stay in city

Residents ask to stay in city

RESIDENTS from Group 34 in Phnom Penh's Tomnup Toek commune said they plan to protest in front of City Hall today, three days after district officials again denied their request to be relocated to the capital's Dangkor district instead of Kandal province.

"They have forced us and given us no choice," Group 34 representative Toch Sophan said Sunday. "We must live [in Phnom Penh]. Dying is better than moving to Kandal province."

Toch Sophan said the residents would submit a letter to Phnom Penh Municipality reiterating their hope not to be relocated to Ponhea Leu district
in Kandal province, located about 50 kilometres from the capital.

On the night of April 15, a suspected arson burned down about 150 homes in Group 34. Since then, authorities have not allowed the families to rebuild their homes, leaving most of the community in makeshift shelters fashioned out of tarpaulins.

Municipal officials and nearly all of the Group 34 families in May agreed in principle to move the families to Dangkor district, and residents now say the government has reneged on the agreement.

Chor Heng, chief of Tomnup Toek commune, confirmed on Sunday that authorities had rejected the deal.

"We do not have the ability to provide them a plot in Dangkor because of the land price," Chor Heng said. "Now everything is stuck because people do not agree with our compensation."

Chor Heng said he did not know when the families would be evicted but blamed residents for their predicament for refusing to accept compensation.

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