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Ratanakkiri families demand land dispute resolution

Representatives from Talao commune pose for a photo yesterday in Ratanakkiri after a meeting about an ongoing land dispute.
Representatives from Talao commune pose for a photo yesterday in Ratanakkiri after a meeting about an ongoing land dispute. ADHOC

Ratanakkiri families demand land dispute resolution

More than 150 ethnic Kachak families in Ratanakkiri province have accused the provincial governor of not settling their land dispute despite a months-old order from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s office to do so.

The 162 families in Andong Meas district’s Talao commune filed a complaint to the cabinet office on October 27 last year.

The complaint was forwarded to the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution, which wrote to Thorng Savuth, the provincial governor, on February 16, telling him to resolve the dispute with Phnom Penh-based landowner Meun Sam An.

Sam An reportedly took over the 116-hectare plot in 2012.

Romam Banh, 54, one of 10 community representatives who filed complaints to the governor on Monday, said the complainants were tired of waiting for resolution.

“We’ve asked Savuth to demarcate the land for us,” he said.

Sam An initially bought 20 hectares of land from villagers for $10,000 in 2011 but later took an additional 116 hectares without permission, planting rubber trees and vegetables.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he would investigate the claims and forward the villagers’ complaints to the provincial authorities.

Savuth, the provincial governor, could not be reached.

Nhem Sam Oeun, provincial hall spokesman, said he was not aware of the correspondence being received. Sam An could not be reached for comment.

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