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Residents Assemble after Land Dispute

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About 10 residents of Kandal province’s Mok Kampol district gathered in front of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction yesterday morning to ask for intervention from officials in an ongoing land dispute.
 
A resident of Russey Chroy commune’s Chroy Metrey Krom village, Nuth Nara said yesterday that the group had assembled to ask ministry officials for assistance after the commune chief allegedly sold 15 hectares of resident-owned land to a businessman.
 
“We filed a petition to the ministry on June 27, but so far we have not seen anyone come to resolve our dispute. That’s why we came here to ask about our petition, whether and how they will solve our dispute,” Ms. Nara said, adding that ministry officials had contradicted her claims, saying the dispute had already been investigated.
 
More than 20 families in Russey Chroy are embroiled in the land dispute, all of whom Ms. Nara said had been living on the disputed land for more than 20 years before it was sold.
 
“We will march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house if the ministry cannot find a resolution for us,” she said. “Some villagers are afraid of the authorities and they did not dare to protest.”
 
Russey Chroy commune chief Oum Chhunsreng could not be reached for comment yesterday on the allegations that he sold privately-owned land to a corporation. Previously he has said the disputed 15 hectares of land belonged to the state, and that the 20 families claiming ownership of parcels of it did not have land titles.

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