Pattaya Daily News

03 April 2009 :: 19:04:05 pm 38695

Four Soldiers Killed In Latest Thai-Cambodian Border Skirmish

BANGKOK, April 3, Thai and Cambodian officials confirmed a second heavy gunfight along their disputed border broke out Friday afternoon, leaving three soldiers dead and several others wounded, just hours after a brief early morning skirmish near the ancient Preah Vihear temple on the disputed frontier.
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Soldiers traded rocket, machinegun and mortar fire in an area both sides claimed as their own territory. Each accused the other side of firing first.

Thailand’s Second Army Region Commander Lt-Gen. Viboonsak Neepal reaffirmed two Thai soldiers was killed and seven others were wounded in the second clash.

French news agency Agence France Presse quoted Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith as saying two Cambodian soldiers were killed in the latest gunfight.

There were no reports of casualties on either side in the first clash at 7am Friday, three kilometres west of Preah Vihear temple or Phra Viharn as it is known in Thailand.

The skirmish broke out in a disputed yet-to-be-demarcated 4.6 sq km (1.8 sq miles) area where a Thai soldier identified as Sgt-Maj. Suwat Chanaboon lost his left leg after stepping on a landmine while on patrol.

Cambodian forces said the Thai soldier was on Cambodian soil when the mine exploded. They accused the Thai troops of crossing the border, a charge Thailand has denied.

The Thai Foreign Ministry said the Thai troops visited the blast site to investigate the first incident and then “encountered an intrusion by approximately 20 Cambodian troops, encroaching into the area which is within Thai territory.”

“After the talks between the two sides failed, the Cambodian side started to walk away, (but) turned back to open fire at the Thai troops with rifles and RPG rockets, forcing the Thai patrol to fire back in self-defence.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungwat said the Thai government will lodge a protest regarding the incident with the Cambodian government later today.

The border clashes come just days ahead of the three-day Cambodia-Thailand Joint Border Committee in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province on Sunday. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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