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Kratie Crackdown Shows Lack of Control by Government: Lawmaker

In this photo taken on Friday, May 4, 2012, Cambodian protesters from Boueng Kak lake march with a banner displaying the thumb prints of fellow land owners who have been evicted from their homes, as they demand compensation, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Cambo

Security forces have left a village in Kratie province that was the site of the shooting death of a teenage girl by government forces last week, but an outspoken opposition party lawmaker said the incident proved the current government has lost control.

Land concessions to rubber plantations and other companies, many of which are criticized for using their licenses for illegal logging, have been at the root for an increase in landlessness, displacement and unrest in recent years.

The latest violence, as hundreds of families clashed with security forces in eastern Kratie’s Broma village, demonstrates a lack of respect for the rights of Cambodian citizens, Mu Sochua, a representative for the Sam Rainsy Party, told VOA Khmer.

“The government led by the the Cambodian People’s Party is a government that is not responsible for the lives of its people,” she said. “This is a big failure of the Cambodian People’s Party in their land and agricultural policies.”

Rights workers told the English-language Cambodia Daily over the weekend they were still not being allowed into Broma village, where 14-year-old Heng Chantha was shot in a violent crackdown last week.

Government officials say they were breaking up a secessionist movement in the area, but villagers there say they are being kicked off their land to make way for a rubber plantation.

Authorities have made several arrests, sending some villagers into hiding.

“It’s a pity that there are still people going into hiding in the jungle at present,” Mu Sochua said. “This is a sign that the Cambodia People’s Party, and especially Prime Minister Hun Sen, cannot control the political situation.”