Cambodian Army Backs Business Group in Land Dispute, Defying Government Order

Cambodia’s military is backing a powerful company in its seizure of land in Preah Vihear province, guarding bulldozers sent to destroy villagers’ crops and defying government orders not to get involved in land disputes, Cambodian sources say.

Speaking to RFA’s Khmer Service on Wednesday, one village resident said at least five soldiers armed with assault rifles were deployed on March 5 to support the construction of a road through village land now claimed by the Metreay Pheap company.

“They told me that they are building the road so that the provincial governor can drive through here in his car,” said Pem Mao, the wife of villager Sum Moeurn, who disappeared following his arrest by soldiers on Jan. 14.

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