Mondulkiri officials issued a six-day ultimatum on constructions encroaching on the Doh Kramom Mountain Cultural Centre in Sen Monorom town’s Sokdum commune.
The centre belongs to the Bunong indigenous people and the builders must remove the constructions immediately or face legal penalties.
Mondulkiri Culture and Fine Arts Department director Sey Touch said on December 2 the decision was made on the guidance of a working group set up by Mondulkiri provincial governor Svay Sam Eang and led by Chum Nary, the deputy head of the administration.
He said police removed fences planted by land encroachers and all constructions must be gone by December 6.
“To protect national cultural heritage wealth, our working group is not afraid of tiredness and a confrontation with offenders. We will continue to work until we obtain sufficient evidence to file a complaint with the court,” Touch said.
Sokdum commune chief Pov Sophat said on December 2 that 12 homes and huts were built on four sites unpermitted.
“We have talked to them multiple times, but they still grab land in this area. Those who encroach on this land are not local people, but migrants from various regions,” he said.
Bunong indigenous community representative Phloek Phirum said they are disappointed with poor management in the area that led to the continuous illegal land encroachment.
The representative said it was requested in 2004 that the Doh Kramom Mountain be enlisted as the cultural centre area with a total of 101ha. Instead, the land was occupied and remains 80ha.
“Police have suppressed offenders over and over, but even after they are evicted, it is ineffective. A new group of people arrives. The raids are endless,” Phirum said.