By Sav Yuth
30th March, 2008
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Khmerization
A Cambodian military officer said that Thai commanders wanted to redeploy their soldiers inside Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda after those troops were withdrawn from the pagoda a long time ago. Recently they attempted to reinforce the troop numbers to set up camps in the frontlines.
Cambodian deputy commander of the Intervention Force of Division 12 based at Preah Vihear area, Brig-Gen. Yiv Vanthorn, said that on 29th November, the Thai commander of division 6 of the Suranaree Force, Col. Chayan Huay Songnern, has requested to Cambodian authority to station 10 soldiers, wearing onlycivilian clothes, inside the Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda at night time with the supervision of the Thai delegation.
The same Khmer military officer (Brig-Gen. Yiv Vanthorn) said that the Thai request has been rejected. But on the morning of Saturday, a group of Thai soldiers have crossed the borders by attempting to set up camps in the frontlines but they were forced to leave the areas by Khmer troops.
The same military officer (Gen. Yiv Vanthorn) said: “Yesterday Thai troops came to see us. Their forces that have been redeployed (withdrawn) from the Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda came back wearing civilian clothes and said to us that when their leaders came to monitor the situations there they wanted to stay inside the temple without carrying any weapons. We did not agree with their request. And they reinforced their troop numbers to the frontlines by attempting to set up camps there but we forced them to leave the areas.”
At the disputed border areas in Oddor Meanchey province, from Ta Moan to Ta Krabey temples, one police officer who wants to remain anonymous, said that on Sunday Cambodian border patrol unit saw a group of Thai soldiers have crossed the borders and set up two camps about 3 kilometres from O’Choup Koki district and they used these camps as their bases for patrols.
The police officer said: “Our troops are on around the clock patrols from Rumduol checkpoint all the way to Ta Krabey temple. They set up camps at a place called Chan Krohorp, about 4-5 kilometres east of O’Choup Koki. They built two huts there and sometimes they stayed there, sometimes they went back to their bases. But we are on constant patrols there as well.”
Some circles within the Khmer society and some Khmer politicians want the border disputes resolved as quickly as possible. But on the 28th of November, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said that the political turmoils in Thailand have affected the border talks for the planting of border pillars between Cambodia and Thailand which was supposed to be held in December.
Please note that since Thailand sent troops to invade the Preah Vihear areas on the 15th of July, 2008 there were many talks between Cambodian and Thai foreign ministers but those talks were always faced with obstacles due to complicated political situations in Thailand.