Teenage girl in Cambodia killed during violent eviction

 

Security forces fatally shot a teenage girl today during a clash with villagers armed with axes and crossbows in eastern Cambodia, in the latest of several violent evictions aimed at clearing land for development.

Cambodia's system of commercial land concessions, decried by activists as opaque and corrupt, has become a volatile issue nationwide and prompted a UN inquiry. Last month, a high-profile activist was slain after investigating illegal logging in a forest concession.

Today, about 400 police and soldiers raided a settlement in Kratie province after community leaders rejected demands to vacate their farmland for several months, provincial Gov. Sar Chamrong said. The security forces clashed with about 200 villagers armed with axes, crossbows and sticks.

He said a 15-year-old girl was critically wounded in the confrontation and later died at a hospital.

Government forces secured the area and were hunting for five accused ringleaders who escaped into the jungle, Sar Chamrong said. He alleged that the protesters were trying to set up a self-governing zone outside of the law.

Authorities say the land is owned by the government, but the activists say the previously state-owned land already has been awarded to a Russian company to be developed as a plantation.

Accused protest ringleader Bun Ratha said about 500 villagers have been farming the land for years and have nowhere else to go. Speaking to The Associated Press by phone just before fleeing the scene, Bun Ratha said he had been briefly detained last month on charges of destroying private property during a protest.

The incident is the latest fallout from widespread evictions and land grabs that have sparked unrest nationwide, with deadly force sometimes employed by both public and private security forces.

Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive a week ago suspending new land concessions to private companies and ordering a review of existing ones. The move was announced during a visit by a UN human rights envoy who warned that land disputes in Cambodia must be resolved fairly so that they do not provoke violence.

The issue garnered worldwide attention last month when Chut Wutty, a prominent Cambodian environmentalist, was shot dead by a military policeman as he was returning from investigating illegal logging in a concession area.

The UN envoy, Surya Subedi, said Friday that Cambodia's system of land concessions appears riddled with problems, including low transparency and minimal consultation with affected communities. Subedi is due to make a formal report on the issue later this year to the UN Human Rights Council.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue