Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Soldiers accused of Oddar Meanchey land grab

Soldiers accused of Oddar Meanchey land grab

A man poses by tractors in an area of protected forest in Oddar Meanchey province that locals say has been seized by military officials. Photo supplied
A man poses by tractors in an area of protected forest in Oddar Meanchey province that locals say has been seized by military officials. Photo supplied

Soldiers accused of Oddar Meanchey land grab

Villagers in Oddar Meanchey province have made a last-ditch appeal to salvage a chunk of their community forest they claim was grabbed by military officials for private use.

Keut Mab, deputy chief of Andong Bor community forest, said 488 families in Beanteay Ampil district’s Beng commune yesterday reached out to rights group Adhoc in the hopes of resolving the land dispute with a group of soldiers.

The protected community forest covers more than 6,000 hectares, but since 2011, army forces led by Major General Sorn Sea have cleared the forest, built private homes and rented property, Mab alleged.

“Our community forest has been cleared and only about 100 hectares are intact . . . thousands of hectares have been sold, rented and grabbed as private property,” he said. “Soldiers are plowing every day. When villagers intercepted, they cocked theirs guns to intimidate them.”

However, Sorn Sea denied the allegations and claimed that each soldier was entrusted a house and a single hectare with government approval some five years ago, during armed conflict with Thailand.

“I do not know about the selling or renting of land.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the