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Villager summoned

A villager from Kratie province’s Snuol district was summoned to the provincial court yesterday in connection with a land dispute, as the district governor ordered a private company involved in the disagreement to remove machinery from the contested land.

Villager Thoem Sokhom, 57, said that private firm CIV had filed a complaint against him this year for allegedly grabbing the company’s land as he worked on his cassava plantation in Sre Cha commune’s Meanchey village in February.

“I am not afraid of any allegation because I didn’t steal anyone’s land,” he said yesterday. Thoem Sokhom claimed  that the dispute had affected 110 families in the area.

The summons came as district governor Iev Sopoum asked CIV yesterday to remove machinery from the disputed land in order to avoid damaging villagers’ cassava plantations. “Since the cassava price increased and there are companies wanting to invest, people from outside have grown cassava on the land,” he said.

CIV Company received a 740-hectare government land concession in 2008 to plant rubber trees, affecting residents with plantations in Meanchey and Krabeychoulrub villages in Sre Cha commune, Chan Socheat, a defence lawyer from the Community Legal Education Centre, said yesterday.

Chan Socheat, who is defending Thoem Sokhom, said that eight villagers had been involved in court cases with CIV in connection with the dispute.

Provincial investigating  judge Mak Pheang could not be reached for comment yesterday by The Post.

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