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Woman arrested over Kratie land protests

A woman was arrested in Kratie on Sunday for allegedly obstructing public officials while protesting the seizure of her and 64 other families’ land, which is slated to be given away as part of a social land concession.

Lun Sophat, an officer at Kratie provincial police headquarters, confirmed 60-year-old Sreng Pho’s arrest and said she was transferred to the provincial court for further questioning yesterday.

Ouy Phally, a community representative in Proma village (located in Chhlong district’s Kampong Damrei commune) said 65 families had been at loggerheads with the authorities since the start of the year, when it was announced 100 hectares were going to be confiscated.

“The authorities came to take our land, these lands belong to us. We have to obstruct the officials to stop them doing anything to our land. We must to protect our land,” Phally said.

Provincial Adhoc coordinator Heng Chiev Kun said Pho had gone willingly to the police station for questioning, adding that Adhoc would follow the case further since she had not yet been released.

Pho’s daughter, Sovan Klong, 35, yesterday pleaded for her mother’s release.

“Our farm is 5 hectares, we’re crop farmers,” Klong said. “I need her back.”

Proma has been the site of land disputes before. In May 2012, a 14-year-old girl was shot dead by armed officials forcibly evicting 1,000 families from Proma village to make way for Casotim, an agro-business company.

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