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Villagers rebel against land verdict for NGO

Villagers rebel against land verdict for NGO

About 100 villagers in Kampong Speu province yesterday removed poles that some 90 police officials placed in their village in order to implement a Supreme Court verdict granting 160 hectares of land to a little-known NGO.

Village representatives and rights groups claimed that the verdict referred to land in Treng Trayoeng commune’s village 6 in Phnom Sruoch district, but provincial deputy prosecutor Moth Dara was wrongly implementing the verdict in village 3.

Seng Oeurn, a representative of village 3, said that 64 affected families had lived in the area since 1979.

“The verdict is at village 6, but why do they implement it on village 3?” he said, adding that the land had been awarded to the NGO Farmer Association, which local residents had not heard of.

However, Seng Oeurn said that he and representative Yin Chhang would appear at the Appeal Court on November 30 after the Supreme Court ordered an additional hearing for further investigation into the villagers’ documentation.

Moth Dara said that officials were implementing the verdict at the correct location.

“This area in the past was village 6, but it was changed to village 3,” he said. “The dispute is on this land, so the implementation must follow this verdict.” Moth Dara said that he was unaware of the NGO.

Deputy provincial police chief Som Bora said he was unaware of the dispute, and his forces were preventing residents from blocking the road.

Meanwhile, rights groups questioned the implementation of the verdict. “It’s being implemented in the wrong location,” Licadho provincial monitor Chheng Sophors said.

Adhoc provincial monitor Rath Thavy said that it was a “confusing” case, adding that he was not aware of Farmer Association.

No contact details for Farmer Association were available.


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