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Stand-off with navy in Kampot

Several families in Kampot province yesterday had another standoff with military personnel who came to clear out a disputed piece of land, though violence did not ensue, observers said.

At 11am, 50 men from Brigade 31 of the Royal Cambodian Navy went to Decho Aphivat commune armed with guns and knives. A group of 30 villagers blocked the road and asked local authorities for help.

The sailors stayed in the area through yesterday afternoon but did not proceed with the clearing, said Adhoc observer Heng Taerak.

Military personnel reportedly destroyed some locals’ crops and fruit trees on Monday.

The government gave a piece of land in the commune to veterans for housing. But some 28 civilian families have lived on the land since 2005, villagers told Adhoc.

The dispute began to heat up in early 2014, with Brigade 31 commander Kong Lom saying that villagers aren’t allowed to come back to the area for farming, according to San Try Ya, the commune chief.

Try Ya asked the military to stop trying to clear out the villagers until a solution can be found.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY IGOR KOSSOV

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