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Tumpuon bless forest

Tumpuon bless forest

Hundreds of ethnic minority Tumpuon residents of Laak village in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Chhum district gathered yesterday to bless a community forest in an effort to ward off a private company in possession of a government land concession from clear-cutting it.

Pen Bonna, a coordinator for the local rights group ADHOC, said villagers had sought assistance from local officials but to no avail.

“Villagers lost their hope in the authorities, which is why they turned to the traditional [ceremony],” he said.