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Authorities Seek Resolution After Land Demonstration

  • Kong Sothanarith
  • VOA Khmer

Cambodian villagers protest in a land dispute.

Cambodian villagers protest in a land dispute.

Authorities in Kampong Thom province say they are working to solve an ongoing land dispute with villagers there after a demonstration blocked a major roadway earlier this month.

Kampong Thom Deputy Governor Out Sam Arn said the local government was measuring the land of about 200 families, following a massive demonstration that blocked National Road 6, a main tourist artery between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, for several hours.

About 250 families are laying claim to some 800 hectares of land they say was taken by a private company in 2005. They were further angered when a representative, Kheang Soeurn, was taken into custody June 3 after a protest.

Out Sam Arn said it was difficult to appease everyone because some villagers had made claims on overlapping land.

“We hope we can finish the land review this week, but the process of distributing the land will take time,” he said.

Chem Po, a representative of the villagers, said they are “not yet satisfied.”

“We are waiting to see the land distribution,” he said.

Yi Sok San, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc, urged the provincial authorities to provide land titles to residents to avoid further disputes.