Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers, coffee firm battle over Mondulkiri land




Villagers, coffee firm battle over Mondulkiri land

Ethnic Bunong villagers in Mondulkiri’s Pichreada district stand next to demarcation post yesterday that they claim was recently placed by KPIS Investment company. Photo supplied
Ethnic Bunong villagers in Mondulkiri’s Pichreada district stand next to demarcation post yesterday that they claim was recently placed by KPIS Investment company. Photo supplied

Villagers, coffee firm battle over Mondulkiri land

Tensions flared yesterday between 20 Bunong ethnic minority villagers and a coffee company operating on an economic land concession in Mondulkiri’s Pech Chreada district, prompting local authorities to investigate.

Villagers saw about 10 “K PIS Investment” workers planting coffee on farmland claimed by both the company and Bunong villager Sreum Pyounh in Bosra commune’s Poulo village, according to community representative Kreung Tola.

“We stopped the workers from planting, and an argument happened between the community and company’s administrative staff Mr. Vann Sunheng. We were about to attack each other,” Tola said.

Pyounh, 48, who is part of a group of 29 families locked in the dispute, claimed that he has farmed the land for five years, but the company started planting demarcations on his land.

“My rice has grown for seven days, but the company destroyed it by digging a furrow to plant coffee trees,” he said.

A district official, who wished to be identified only by his first name Chea, said he witnessed the confrontation and intervened to ease tensions.

“We were inspecting the dispute and an argument erupted. I coordinated to end the argument,” he said.

The feud began last year, according to Chea, who said the company was granted 500 hectares, of which it has used some 60 per cent. The company could not be reached for comment.

Tola yesterday said that the villagers plan on petitioning Prime Minister Hun Sen if local authorities do not resolve the dispute.

In a separate case, some 50 Bunong ethnic villagers from Keo Seima district’s Sre Chhouk commune delivered a request that 300 hectares of land be titled as community forest by provincial authorities, according to Sok Ratha, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.

Authorities have so far ignored requests to measure and title the community forest, Ratha said. Mondulkiri Provincial Governor Svay Sam Eang as well as Provincial Hall administrative director Hak Sophan both said they were too busy to comment on the case yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.