Thai-Cambodian border fighting enters third day

Thai and Cambodian troops exchanged artillery fire on Sunday in a third day of fighting that has killed 10 soldiers and uprooted thousands of villagers from their homes.

Officials from both sides said the clashes over disputed territory lasted about two hours on Sunday morning. Cambodian military officials said the shooting resumed in the afternoon.



UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for a cease-fire, but the prospects for peace appeared shaky, with the two sides disagreeing on what triggered the fighting and differing on how to negotiate the conflicting territorial claims underlying the crisis.



Thailand reported no new casualties, after four of its soldiers were killed and 17 wounded over the previous two days. Witnesses saw one Cambodian soldier and a Cambodian television journalist wounded Sunday. Colleagues said the journalist suffered a head wound but did not appear seriously hurt. Cambodia earlier reported the deaths of six soldiers.



The dispute between the neighbors stems from their claims over small swaths of land along the border, with nationalistic politics fueling tensions. Clashes have erupted several times since 2008, when Cambodia's 11th-century Preah Vihear temple was given UN World Heritage status over Thai objections.



The current round of clashes is the first reported since February, when eight soldiers and civilians were killed near the Preah Vihear temple. The latest fighting is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of there.



UN Secretary-General Ban has called on Cambodia and Thailand to implement an effective and verifiable cease-fire.



A UN statement late Saturday said Ban believes the dispute cannot be resolved by military means, so the two countries must engage in a serious dialogue to resolve the underlying problems.



Indonesia, a fellow member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has tried to mediate, but its efforts have been stymied so far by Thailand's reluctance to allow Indonesian military observers in the area of dispute. Thailand insists the problem should be solved through bilateral talks with Cambodia, but Cambodia wants third-party mediation.



On Saturday, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said his government is willing to accept Indonesia's assistance in solving the crisis, but he was awaiting approval from Thailand's defense ministry.



Sunday's flare-up came after it seemed that calm might have been restored. Witnesses on the Cambodian side said an important border crossing that had been closed for two days had been reopened, and Thai media said some of an estimated 20,000 civilians who had been evacuated from the battle zone were starting to move back. The border crossing, which is not in the battle zone, was shut again shortly after fighting resumed.



Each side has accused the other of starting the latest fighting, which has mainly involved artillery duels at long range.



Thailand rejected accusations Saturday that it had used chemical weapons against Cambodian troops.



A Cambodian defense ministry statement charged that Thailand had fired 75- and 105-millimeter shells "loaded with poisonous gas" into Cambodian territory, but did not elaborate. Col. Suos Sothea, a Cambodian field commander, said separately that Thailand had used both cluster shells — anti-personnel weapons banned by many countries — and artillery shells that gave off a debilitating gas.



Kasit said the allegations were not true, and Col. Tawatchai Samutsakorn, commander of Thailand's 2nd Army Region, denied that cluster bombs or poison gas had been employed by his forces.



Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of small bomblets that scatter over vast areas. Some can lie dormant for decades until disturbed, posing enormous danger to civilians.



Thailand acknowledged using cluster-type munitions in border fighting in February, but argued that they were not of the type banned from use by 108 countries under an international treaty. Thailand has not signed the pact, but has publicly pledged not to use such weapons.



The fighting comes as Thailand's military raises its profile in domestic politics ahead of general elections expected by early July. The army previously effectively vetoed a plan to station Indonesian observers to monitor the border situation.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site