Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fear still lingers in Pro Ma

Fear still lingers in Pro Ma

Fear still lingers in Pro Ma

3 anniversary kratie girl death

A year to the day since armed soldiers stormed into the remote village of Pro Mar in Kratie province, killing a 14-year-old girl, arresting her husband and evicting hundreds of families, Sreng Pho still has nightmares.

“I’m really scared when I think back to that day the authorities came to crack down on our village,” she said yesterday.

Pho’s husband, Kan Sovan, was one of the men arrested, accused of plotting with Beehive Radio director Mam Sonando to create “a state within a state”, before being released months later.

The painful memories of her former home remain, but like many of the roughly 1,000 families evicted, Pho just wants to go back there.

“Tomorrow is a year since the crackdown in my village,” Pho said. “But we still cannot go back to our village, even though they did not find my husband guilty.”

Pho said villagers had been left without farmland and wanted to return to plant cassava but wasn’t sure if authorities were building a military base in the area, as reported by the Post in February.

“The authority has always said they have granted the land back to us. In fact, we have not got anything besides soldiers blocking us from going home.”

Prior to the eviction, villagers had been locked in a dispute with the company Casotim.

“People have been clearing our land, but they take away their excavators when we come to protest,” Pho said.

Touch Rem, one of the men imprisoned with Sonando, yesterday urged authorities to allow villagers home because it was planting season and many did not have land of their own to support their families.

“I haven’t the right to go back to my old village because am I still under watch by the court,” he said.

Chhlong district governor Som Sarith said authorities had already measured land for villagers in the area and they were now only waiting for land titles.

“I think some people have come to the area to cut trees and said this land belongs to them,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,