Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Thai troops ordered to retaliate : Gen Anupong

By The Nation

Army Commander in Chief Gen Anupong Paochinda has assigned Thai troops along the border with Cambodia to be on high alert and to retaliate if attacked.

Second Army Region Commander Lt Gen Wibunsak Neeparn said Anupong telephoned to him and ordered Thai troops along the border to be ready if attacked.

"Gen Anupong ordered the Thai troops to retaliate if Cambodian side opened the attacks," Wibunsak said Wednesday.

Border tensions between Thailand and Cambodia have flared up this week after Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an ultimatum for Thailand to withdraw Thai troopers from an area new Preah Vihear temple.

However Bangkok refused to withdraw the troops, saying most of the troopers were de-miners.

Wibunsak said he assigned Maj Gen Kanok Netrakawesana, commander of Suranaree Task Force to meet with the Khmer side on Thursday in a bid to find ways to ease the tensions.

Meanwhile authorities have warned people to stay away from the border with Cambodia in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district in case fighting should break out.

Villagers have been advised to stay at home, to make merit at their temples, to check their underground shelters and to have belongings packed should they need to evacuate.

Despite the warnings, people in provinces along the Thai-Cambodia border still flocked to give foods to monks on Wednesday in a ceremony to mark the Buddhist Lent which fall on Tuesday.

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