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Families plead for help to stop Pursat evictions

Families plead for help to stop Pursat evictions

More than 70 families in Pursat province’s Anlong Tnort commune plan to send a letter to their provincial hall today compelling officials to stop a private farming company from tearing down their houses on its 3,000 hectare economic land concession.

Ratanak Visal Development Co Ltd’s security forces, assisted by local civilian and military police, had demolished 20 houses, forcibly evicting their residents, from July 30 to August 7, villager Leak Samnang said yesterday.

“The military destroyed my plantation though I begged them not to, and we could do nothing because they were armed,” another villager, Pich Seakthong, said. “I had been working to clear and plant on a piece of land since 2005, but the plot was claimed as the company’s possession.”

Chhiv Chhorn, a councillor in neighbouring Kampong Luong commune, said military and security forces had seized a video that he made of them destroying villagers’ property.

Touch No, Anlong Tnort commune chief, acknowledged the destruction of the residents’ property but said many had grabbed their land independently of the government’s national distribution system.

Commune representative Ly Pheak said after the government granted the company’s ELC, a community of about 10 residents there swelled to around 60.

Ratanak Visal Development Co Ltd could not be reached.

To contact the reporter on this story:Phak Seangly at [email protected]

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