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Police seek three more from village

Police seek three more from village

Six warrants now issued for ex-residents of Bos.

ODDAR Meanchey provincial officials have issued three additional arrest warrants for residents of Bos village, which was razed by local authorities on Friday, but say the warrants have nothing to do with the long-running land dispute that led to the eviction.

On Monday and Tuesday, Ty Sovinthal, prosecutor of the Siem Reap provincial court, said he had issued warrants for the arrest of only three villagers – already in detention – following complaints from the provincial Forestry Administration accusing the villagers of incitement and disrupting Cambodia’s development. But when contacted Wednesday, he said three more villagers were being sought, and that all six were suspected of illegally logging on state land in an incident apparently unrelated to Friday’s eviction.

“Before filing their complaint against the villagers, the Forestry Administration warned the villagers not to clear forest and settle down on state land, but they still continued to do so,” he said. “I have looked at the spot the villagers have cleared on the map. It really is part of the state forest area.”

Meanwhile, 30 villagers who escaped to Phnom Penh, fearing arrest on incitement charges, said they did not believe authorities’ promises not to arrest them.

“It is just their tricky policy to say they want us to return home to be with our family,” said Huoy Chhuoy, a representative of the 214 families evicted from Bos village. He said the group plans to hold a protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Takhmao residence today to request his intervention in the dispute.

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