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Redistribution of Land Angers Villagers

Villagers from 736 families are protesting the authorities of Kampong Thom province for allegedly shorting them on the redistribution of land in favor of a concession to a rubber company.

The villagers complained to a local rights group earlier this week, saying Kampong Thom provincial governor Num Tum proposed to Prime Minister Hun Sen that 5,415 hectares of state forest be distributed to 459 families, at three hectares per family, according to official documents obtained by VOA Khmer. The remaining 4,000 hectares of land were provided by authorities to a private company to plant rubber trees, villagers say.

Num Tum said Friday the government sought to give legal land rights to all the families in the area, to provide them with a livelihood, and that those who were protesting had vested interest in other property.