Officials Mum On Deal With Wuzhishan

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.




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