Representatives of 75 families living on land granted to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) for a planned barracks, armory and training grounds in Siem Reap province’s Svay Loeu district said Wednesday that they boycotted a meeting about a recent dispute over the plot after military officials ominously requested that the talks be held in the forest and that a single villager attend.
“The soldiers requested that one villager meet them today, but we will not let anyone go there,” said Bun Bai, a representative of the families. “With only one villager there…they might be killed in the forest.”
On Sunday, some 100 soldiers from RCAF’s Region 4 used wooden barricades to confine an equal number of villagers who had attempted to stop an excavator from clearing trees for a reservoir to serve the military facilities.
Brigadier General Tep Ruon, deputy commander of RCAF Region 4, said he was surprised that a representative of the families failed to appear at Wednesday’s meeting.
“I waited for someone at the place where the excavators were parked, but nobody showed up,” he said.