After Murder, Committee Formed for Land Dispute

Battambang provincial authorities this week formed a committee in Samlot district to survey an area subject to a land dispute that is linked to an unresolved killing in April, officials said.

The committee of local government officials was created on Monday to find out how many people in O’Samril commune lay claim to the disputed land as well as the size of the area and the current occupier, Sieng Sothang, deputy provincial governor said.

“It is a very complicated problem to resolve…. We formed a district committee to gather all the information related to the villagers and the land,” Mr Sothang said, noting that the data collection will conclude tomorrow.

Chan Soveth, head monitor for human rights organization Adhoc, welcomed the formation of the committee to record information about the land at the center of the dispute linked to murder by unidentified gunmen.

“So far no one has been arrested for prosecution…. This land dispute is very worrying,” Mr Soveth said.

Battambang provincial police chief Sar Thet yesterday said that police were still investigating the fatal shooting of 59-year-old Pich Sophorn on April 26 at his house in Chamlong Ramaing Loeu village.

“Our investigation is still ongoing because this issue is very complicated,” Mr Thet said.

The murder victim, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen, had reportedly witnessed a similar armed attack on April 4.

Mr Sophorn allegedly saw unidentified men shoot his neighbor 49-year-old Sim Mey who escaped with gunshot wounds to his shoulder and leg, police said at the time.

Since 2005, between 100 and 150 families have been involved in a dispute over a 700-hectare area with members of the 5th RCAF Division and a Korean company, NGO officials said in April.


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