The national committee assigned to settle a dispute between a Chinese pulpwood company and Phnong communes in Mondolkiri province has come to a resolution, although officials contacted Sunday and Monday would not reveal details of the committee’s decision.
“The government has made a decision already,” Interior Ministry Secretary of State Nuth Sa An said Sunday. “But I can’t talk because it is a long story.”
Nuth Sa An, also the head of the committee, then hung up. He did the same Monday.
Wuzhishan LS Group has been planting baby pine trees in the province since late last year. Villagers in O’Reang district’s Sen Monorom and Dak Dam communes, upset over what they say is the company’s encroachment into their traditional lands, have organized protests in the provincial capital and road blockades in their villages in recent months.
Tension hit a high on June 27 when Cambodian employees of Wuzhishan used farm tools to bust through blockades in Dak Dam commune.
The villagers were using the blockades to halt the transport of company workers in the commune, effectively putting a stop to much of the planting. The road blockades and company work were suspended earlier this month as the government committee set about researching the issue.
Mondolkiri Governor Thou Son said last week that the committee has acknowledged that villagers in Sen Monorom commune have asked for 3 km of land surrounding their commune, while villagers in Dak Dam commune have asked for 10 km of land around their commune.
Nha Rang Chan, third provincial deputy governor, said Sunday that the committee had found Wuzhishan had planted pine trees on more than 16,000 hectares of provincial land.
Meanwhile, Krong Sarat, from Sen Monorom commune, said Sunday that eight commune representatives attended a meeting with NGO officials in Phnom Penh on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He would not reveal what was discussed in the meeting.