Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers’ homes levelled in Pursat

Villagers’ homes levelled in Pursat

Villagers’ homes levelled in Pursat

A coalition of about 30 soldiers, police, forestry officials and military police armed with chainsaws razed some 40 houses belonging to villagers in Pursat province’s Santre commune yesterday, claiming the villagers were illegally living in a state forest, villagers and officials said.

According to resident Chin Saran, 44, about 25 families had lived in the area since 2008, and had been asked to leave before.

However, after Hun Sen’s May sub-decree allotting land to those living in state forests, a new wave of some 40 families arrived, hoping to benefit from the anticipated land grant, and raising the ire of provincial officials.

Officers cut down newcomers’ homes, he said, then gave the others until Friday to go.

“If the prime minister helps us in time, it will be like we’re born again,” Saran said. “If not, we don’t know where to live.”

Sao Ranny, 55, told the Post through tears that her grandchildren had dengue, and had nowhere else to go, adding that villagers were threatened with arrest if they spoke to the press.

Santre deputy commune chief San Von said that the villagers and village chief had tried to speak up on behalf of the established residents, but to no avail.

“I have no capacity to help them, because I am afraid that the government will accuse me of doing something against them, so that only my superiors can help,” he said.

Phnom Kravanh district governor Touch Sambo maintained that the eviction conformed to the prime minister’s sub-decree, and was not meant to disrupt established residents.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at [email protected]

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all