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Soldier suspended over land dispute violence

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
A video of the incident went viral. Swift News

A Preah Sihanouk military commander yesterday said that a soldier, who was involved in a violent crackdown during a land dispute in Prey Nop district last month, has been suspended.

A video clip posted on the social media showed a man dressed in a gendarmerie uniform stamping and using a rifle butt to hit a civilian who was bound and kneeling on the ground.

Major General Savin Vibol, Military Region 3 commander, said the soldier had been identified and was temporarily suspended from his duties.

He acknowledged that he was ordered to send troops to enforce a January 24 Supreme Court ruling on the ownership of the disputed land.

“The soldier was suspended from all his duties and I have reported the matter to the provincial commander,” Maj Gen Vibol said. “He was also reprimanded by his unit commander.”

On February 13, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said that the violence used by the authorities in the land dispute was wrong and called on provincial authorities to avoid deploying soldiers to crack down on protesters.

Last month, a clash broke out in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nop district as provincial authorities were measuring disputed land after protestors threw stones and petrol bombs at security forces.

In the incident, a construction worker was shot and injured while six other villagers were arrested and released the same day.

The National Police has launched a probe into the shooting incident.

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