Cambodia says two killed in clash at Thai border
Wednesday 15 October 2008
Two Cambodian soldiers were killed today in a border gun battle with Thai troops, Cambodia's foreign minister announced, increasing the risk that long-standing tensions over territorial claims could escalate into outright war.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said that in addition to the two dead, two others had been wounded in fighting near a landmark 11th-century temple that lasted less than an hour.
Thai army spokesman Sansern Kaewkumnerd said five Thai soldiers were wounded, two fewer than earlier reported.
Cambodian army commander Brig. Gen. Yim Pim said fighting had "paused" by 3:45 p.m., and that commanders on the ground from both sides were trying to negotiate a cease-fire.
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said the two countries' foreign ministers were talking to try to resolve the crisis.
"Cambodia is a good neighbor. We will use peaceful means. If there is violence, we have to negotiate," he said.
The Thai army also stated its desire to end the dispute peacefully.
"The Thai army will defend itself but the army commander has emphasized that we will not react disproportionately, which may exacerbate the problem," said army spokesman Sansern Kaewkumnerd. "We have reinforced out troops but from an initial assessment, the army believes the situation is now under control."
For the Cambodian side, Hor Namhong said, "We remain committed to solving the problems through peaceful means."
Both sides said the other fired first. It was not immediately clear how many troops were engaged in the shooting
Hor Namhong said 10 Thai soldiers has surrendered, were being well-treated, and would be returned to Thailand, though he did not specify when.
The clash came a day after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an ultimatum to Thailand to pull back its soldiers from disputed territory near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.
The fighting was the latest flare-up in a decades-long dispute over a contested stretch of jungle near the Preah Vihear temple. The World Court awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962, but sovereignty over some surrounding land has never been clearly resolved.
Tensions flared July 15 after UNESCO, the U.N. agency, approved Cambodia's bid to have the Preah Vihear temple named a World Heritage Site, leading some in Thailand to fear that its claims over the nearby land would be undermined.
Cambodia deployed about 800 troops to the border after the UNESCO decision, and Thailand sent some 400 soldiers. Both sides pulled back most of their troops in late August, but passions flared again recently.
A brief gunfight broke out between the sides earlier this month, with one Cambodian and two Thai soldiers wounded. Both sides claimed the other fired first and blamed each other for being on the wrong side of the border. Three days later, two Thai soldiers lost legs when they stepped on land mines in the area.
Thailand's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had prepared aircraft if an evacuation was ordered of Thai citizens in Cambodia.
"We are ready for an evacuation if necessary, but right now, there has been no order to evacuate," said ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat. He said there were about 1,000 Thais in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, and 500 Thais in the city of Siem Reap.
Earlier Wednesday, Thailand put jet fighters on alert at air force bases nationwide and C-130 transport planes on standby at a base in the capital, Bangkok, that could evacuate Thais living in the border area "if the tension escalates to a military confrontation," Thai air force official Group Capt. Montol Satchukorn said.
"Our forces are on alert and ready to support the army's possible operations on the border," Montol told The Associated Press. "These are just precautionary measures. It's not that we are going to war."
Cambodia's deputy defense minister, Gen. Neang Phat, said, "We remain on alert and have readied our forces adequately to protect our territory." He declined to say how many Cambodian troops had been deployed in the area.
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...