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Poor families claim land concession sold to others

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The poor families claim their representative stole their land and sold it to those who were not legally granted access to the concession. Photo supplied

Poor families claim land concession sold to others

A group of 160 poor families from the Bunong indigenous community in Mondulkiri province’s Pech Chreada district have filed a complaint against their representative, accusing him of selling land earmarked for them as part of a social land concession.

Community member Kroeung Tola told The Post on Wednesday that the 160 families were entitled to 2,400ha to be divided between them as stated in a sub-decree in 2012, but as of now, most of the poor families had not received their plots.

He claimed that community representative Sos Milen plundered the 2,400ha and began selling it off to other residents and civil servants from other areas who were not included in the list of approved families by the sub-decree.

“After receiving 2,400ha from the relevant authorities, Sos Milen, who represents the 160 poor families, took a large portion of their land to sell to residents and civil servants who came from other areas for $500 to $ 1,500 per hectare,” he said.

He said distributing or selling the land concessions to residents outside the area who were not approved to receive it is illegal.

The community has now taken the case to the Mondulkiri Provincial Court, intending to have it intervene and have the land returned to its rightful recipients.

Klang Thol, who signed the complaint to the court, said: “We want it to help find a solution and provide justice for us. The court must seize the land. Milen sold it in secret to others. He has to pay damages and we ask the court to punish him according to the law.”

Milen could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Provincial court spokesman Meas Bros said the court had received the complaint and would send the case file to a prosecutor for further action.

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