About 160 families from three communes in Battambang province yesterday submitted a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet and the Ministry of Justice asking the government to intervene in a long-running land dispute.
The villagers claim they are the rightful owners of 800 hectares of land the government granted to 1,299 families in the province through a social land concessions in 2009, said Kim Dareth, chief of Bavel district.
In 2012 and 2013, the government issued land titles to the 1,299 families, Dareth said. But the protesting families claim they never received formal documents despite having farmed there since 1998.
Dareth said the ownership claim of the 160 families was untrue as they occupied forest land. Regardless, the authorities’ solution was to offer each family 1 hectare of land in Kors Kralor district, but the villagers rejected the offer.
Yim Mengly, Adhoc coordinator for Battambang province, said the protesting families were related to Khmer Rouge cadres, and the government accused them of owning the land illegally.