Monday, April 25, 2011

Fresh fighting at Thai-Cambodian border

A Thai soldier being evacuated after he was shot in an exchange of gunfire with Cambodian troops near the Thai-Cambodian border yesterday. -- PHOTO: AFP

SAMRONG (Cambodia) - CAMBODIAN and Thai troops exchanged heavy weapons fire for the third straight day on Sunday, officials from both countries said, after clashes on their joint border left 10 dead.

Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee the disputed jungle frontier after fighting broke out on Friday, shattering a tense two-month ceasefire. A Cambodian field commander, Suos Sothea, said the fighting started at about 10am local time (0300GMT, 11am Singapore time) and both sides were firing mortars.

'What we can confirm is it involves artillery shell fire,' he said. A Thai official at the border also confirmed the resumption of hostilities and said 'Cambodia opened fire first'.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has said the neighbours should 'exercise maximum restraint' and urged the pair to launch 'serious dialogue' in order to resolve the issue, according to a spokesman on Saturday.

Six Cambodian troops and four Thai soldiers have been killed since clashes restarted on Friday. Heavy shelling was clearly audible 20km away from the scene of the fighting on the Cambodian side, according to an AFP photographer, as those evacuated from their homes took refuge in schools and temples away from the clash.

Both countries have accused each other of sparking the violence, which is the first serious outbreak of fighting since February, when 10 people were killed in clashes near the 900-year-old Hindu temple Preah Vihear. -- AFP

Sponsored Link

No comments: