Villagers in Preah Vihear’s Choam Ksan district confronted a group of soldiers, preventing them from felling timber in their community forest by confiscating one of their trucks, a local official said yesterday.
Kampenh Village Chief Chork Choeurt said the incident occurred on Monday, and was separate from a similar tense confrontation captured on video and posted to Facebook showing about 20 axe- and machete-wielding villagers surrounding a truck loaded with timber.
Though it happened in the same village, the incident caught on video actually took place last month, Choeurt said, though he could not remember which day.
In Monday’s incident, the soldiers, who belonged to Intervention Unit 3 and were driving two trucks, had “just arrived [in the forest] and . . . had not logged yet”, said Choeurt.
To prevent the soldiers from logging, the villagers surrounded and stopped one truck, which they confiscated. The other truck managed to escape.
In a meeting held at the commune hall to resolve the case, a military officer named Vanny represented Intervention Unit 3, while villagers Sorn Sin, Run Kheng and Hum Rom represented the community, Choeurt said.
After the meeting, Vanny promised his soldiers would cease their logging activities, while the villagers agreed to return the truck.
Neither the three villagers present at the negotiation nor Srey Bora, the deputy commander and chief of staff of Intervention Unit 3, could be reached for comment.