Forestland left fallow as land disputes in Highlands spike
VietNamNet Bridge - Land disputes in the Central Highlands have spread to new areas. In Dak Lak and Dak Nong, conflicts have occurred, including a number of murders. 


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Conflicts occurred, including a number of murders



Deforestation and illegal forest trading have become common in Central Highlands’ provinces. In Ea Sup district, thousands of households have appropriated forest and sold land plots.

A horrific murder case occurred on December 16, 2017 in Ea Bung commune, causing eight deaths. 

Pham Thi Phuong, residing in Ea Bung commune, bought a land plot in Ward 263 from a man from Binh Phuoc, who visited dozens of years ago and cleared forestland for cultivation. 

Deforestation and illegal forest trading have become common in Central Highlands’ provinces. In Ea Sup district, thousands of households have appropriated forest and sold land plots.

A group of men in the locality, who specialized in using plows to appropriate land in Ea Sup Town, often harassed Phuong and fought over the land plot as they did with many other households.

Phuong said she had reported the harassment to commune’s leaders, but they have done nothing yet.

People have been flocking there, clearing land, cultivating crops, declaring their ownership over the land, and selling the land for money. 

Though forestland has been allocated to forestry companies to protect, the companies cannot prevent illegal loggers.

Meanwhile, local authorities are having problems dealing with the forestland trading cases. 

Le Truong and Ton Nu Kim Loan in Dak Ha commune in Dak G’long district were put in temporary detention after selling forestland to two households, which is considered swindling to appropriate assets.

However, the police were criticized as ‘criminalizing a civil case’ and the couple was released after four months of detention. One year and seven months have elapsed since then, and the police still cannot prove the illegal action of the couple. 

Land and human life

In the first week of 2018, the Dak Nong People's Court held a trial on a gunfire case involving a land dispute in Quang Truc commune, which killed three and injured three people in October 2016.

The case stunned the public and Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh had to lead a government’s working group to the site, instructing local authorities to discipline violators and settle the forestland dispute between farmers and enterprises.

In Dak G’long and Tuy Duc districts in Dak Nong province, the conflicts, according to locals, happen regularly ‘like daily meals’. 

In Dak Lak province, a man even illegally built a house within the grounds of the Cu M’lanh forest protection station.


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Mai Thanh

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