Agroup of demobilized Khmer Rouge soldiers living in a remote part of the Cardomom
Mountains are being relocated after ongoing clashes with WildAid.
Delphin Vann Roe, assistant country director of WildAid, confirmed that the members
of the 31 Brigade and their families are leaving their settlements near Chi Pat in
Koh Kong province.
Koh Kong governor Yuth Phouthang, said the soldiers were being moved to forested
land in military region three along National Highway 4 in Kampong Speu so they would
be "easy to control".
The move began in March with the relocation of two small groups of soldiers, said
San Yan, captain of military police in Botum Sarkor district, which is adjacent to
the soldiers' district. Yan said he believed the entire 31 Brigade, numbering around
210 soldiers, will eventually move out of the area.
Tension between the community and WildAid boiled over on December 15 last year, when
a mob of 28 angry and intoxicated soldiers assaulted a military police captain working
with the NGO and stormed their office demanding the return of 900kg of tree resin
confiscated the previous day.
Residents in the district hub of Andong Toeuk said at the time that WildAid's crackdowns
on resin-collecting, wildlife hunting, small-scale logging and the practice of slash-and-burn
farming were destroying the local economy, which was previously propped up by these
The Cardomon Mountains area in Cambodia's south-west noted for its exceptionally
high biodiversity, being home to many globally threatened species including tigers,
Asian elephants, Asian wild dogs and Siamese crocodiles.