Nearly 500 residents from five villages in Kratie province’s Snuol district, including those from the Steang ethnic minority, protested against a private company yesterday requesting that it stop clearing their farmland for rubber plantations.
Khuot Kit, 57, a representative of 480 villagers in Svay Chreah commune, said that Sre Cha village’s chief showed him a letter in December stating that Kou Keang Kratie Rubber Company had received a 2,000-hectare concession from the government last year. “They did not negotiate with us or find a resolution for us, they just bring their four bulldozers to destroy our cassava,” he said.
Kong Thon, a villager who joined the protest, said company representatives had come to clear the land in December but stopped when villagers protested. “If they do not listen to us and next time they come to destroy our cassava again, we will burn down their bulldozers,” he said.
Snuol district governor Iv Sophum said yesterday that he was meeting with villagers to find a resolution to the dispute. Contact information for Kou Keang Kratie Rubber Company was unavailable.MAY TITTHARA