Sunday, February 6, 2011

New incidents at the border between Thailand and Cambodia

Thai and Cambodian soldiers exchanged fire of artillery, rockets and tanks Sunday at the border between the two countries for the third consecutive day, witnesses said.
At night you could hear the echo of gunfire from the vicinity of an eleventh century temple called Preah Vihear by Cambodians and Khao Phra Viharn by Thais and both countries vie.
The heaviest fighting died down after three hours, but sporadic shooting continued during the night. A district hospital Kantalarak in the Thai province of Sri Sa Ket, has reported 10 soldiers and two villagers injured.
Thai side of the border, at least 2,500 people have fled their villages and hundreds of Cambodians were evacuated while Thailand was deploying more troops and armor, reported local authorities and witnesses in both countries.
"At this stage we have not implemented the cease-fire. We are negotiating at all levels, but in the meantime we must fight back and defend ourselves," said Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, spokesman for the Thai soldiers, accusing the Cambodian soldiers have fired first.
The clashes Friday and Saturday in the region killed at least five deaths, the toll the heaviest since Cambodia asked in 2008, the inscription of the temple on the World Heritage List of Unesco.
Sporadic clashes have erupted then, but it is rare that the two sides compete for several days.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the remains belonged to Cambodia, but it did not specify the membership of an adjacent area of 4.6 km2, which became a bone of contention between the two countries.
Jason Szep and Ambika Ahuja, Prak Chan Thul with Phnom Penh and Bangkok Viparat Jantrapapaweth, Jean-Stéphane Brosse and Nicole Smith for the French service

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