Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mondulkiri villagers say officials burned their homes

Mondulkiri villagers say officials burned their homes

Mondulkiri villagers say officials burned their homes

A group of 31 villagers of the Phnong ethnic minority have filed a petition to Mondulkiri provincial authorities to demand the removal of the local environment department director after rangers allegedly torched their homes during a wedding in Sen Monorom district.

While the 22 families of Sokdum commune’s Laoka village attended a wedding on Thursday, a group of eight rangers burned down cottages and houses belonging to seven families, according to village chief Kleum Meul. His brother and nephew’s homes are among them. “They destroyed rice in the sacks, pots, mats, and other stuff. They abused us like they did in the Pol Pot regime,” he said.

Rangers accused the villagers of living in the protected area illegally, Meul said, adding that villagers had settled on the land several years ago under an agreement with then-environment minister Mok Maret.

Chhit Sophal, the director of the provincial environment department, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Samrang Dyvichet, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary director, acknowledged that his rangers did burn some huts – but not houses – which he claimed were built two months ago.

“The huts were recently built and were set on fire on the recommendation from the provincial governor and the [Ministry of Environment],” Dyvichet said.

However, ministry spokesman Sao Sopheap said such action did not follow ministry policy.

If the villagers were found to be living on the land illegally, “we cannot go and burn those things down right away like that”, he said.

Provincial hall administrative director Hak Sophan said that Sen Monorom authorities had been asked to investigate.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol

  • Ministry to 'seek justice' for officials indicted in US for 'monkey smuggling'

    The Cambodian government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said they will make the “utmost effort” to seek justice for a Cambodian official arrested in John F Kennedy International Airport in New York for allegedly conspiring to smuggle crab-eating macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)