Disabled veterans register in land bid

Some 360 disabled war veterans in Kratie province’s Snuol district last week registered with the district office as part a request for land they say local authorities promised them in 2008, district officials said yesterday.

“We took their pictures and registered their names to make a report to the Kratie governor and to the national level,” said Seng Davy of the district office.

A group of more than 100 of the disabled war veterans demonstrated in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Phnom Penh residence on July 12 to ask for land in a protected wildlife area in Snuol district. The protesters went home the next day after officials promised to resolve the dispute over a social land concession.

Snuol district governor Iv Saphoum said yesterday that the disputed land in Pi Thnou commune has been rented to private companies, although he declined to name the firms. He said a protest by some 400 members of Association Cripple Development–who hail from Kratie, Kompong Cham, Kandal, Siem Reap and Prey Veng provinces–was broken up on the land on April 24.

The members who failed to register with Snuol district last week are not actually disabled and do not deserve concession land, he claimed.

“They paid middleman to register with Association Cripple Development,” Mr Saphoum said. “They dare not register their names” with the district.

But Phan Sophal, deputy director of Association Cripple Development, said authorities only gave members from Thursday to Friday to register and that more time was needed. He said he and a handful of other senior leaders went on Saturday to see Mr Saphoum but the district governor was unavailable.

“If there is no solution we will come to rally in Phnom Penh and send out a complaint to the Ministry of Interior and National Assembly,” he said, though he did not set a date.

Mr Sophal said there are a total of 634 families in the association, which has asked for 4,000 hectares of farmland.


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