A Violent Land Grab in Kratie, Cambodia

Military authorities and local villagers burn down several houses and forcefully evict people from their land in Chhloang district, Kratie province. Photos were taken on April 8 and 9, 2015 by RFA/Prach Chev.

2015.04.13
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This is the fourth time that the authorities have used violence to seize land from a group of 31 families in Chhlong district to give it to another group of 72 families. RFA/Prach Chev

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At least 6 huts were burned down on April 8 and 9. RFA/Prach Chev

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4 other houses are level to the ground by bulldozers. RFA/Prach Chev

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The houses were burned down mostly by a group of 72 families on the opposing side of the conflict who stand to gain the land being seized from the residents. RFA/Prach Chev

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But military authorities supervise violent evictions and warn the group of villagers of 31 families not to go near their home or risk arrest. RFA/Prach Chev

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The evicted villagers can only stand by and shed tears as they watch their cottages being burned down. RFA/Prach Chev

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However, a villager from the other side of the conflict says that his group is clearing land that was given to his group by government authorities. RFA/Prach Chev

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The deputy commander of Kratie provincial military police, Srey Vutha, who lead the demolition and burning of the villagers huts, said only that “the authorities came to prevent the clash between the two groups of villagers.” RFA/Prach Chev

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So far at least 2 villagers have been arrested, with one charged with interfering with the work of authorities, and the other charged with using violence against authorities. Both were arrested on April 8th and are being detained while they await trial. RFA/Prach Chev

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The villagers of the 31 evicted families say they are determined to stay on their land. They collected evidences to support a complaint they intend to file to seek intervention by various Cambodian institutions, including the National Assembly. RFA/Prach Chev

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