Saturday, 5 February 2011

Clashes on Thai-Cambodian border claim another life

via CAAI

By South East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel

There has been more deadly fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops near a disputed temple on the border between the two countries.

One Thai soldier was killed and four more were injured in a fresh clash this morning after a number of soldiers and villagers on both sides of the border were killed in artillery fire yesterday.

It is the first major skirmish in the area around the Preah Vihear temple in almost a year and both sides have since declared a ceasefire.

The world heritage site has been declared part of Cambodia but its ownership is disputed by Thai nationalists.

Tensions have increased this week after two prominent Thais who visited the site were convicted of espionage.

Artillery fire in the last 24 hours has hit villages and terrified local people who have been forced to flee.

Cambodia's foreign minister, Hor Namhong, wrote to the United Nations to draw its attention to the "explosive situation at the border."

In a letter addressed to UN Security Council president Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, he blamed the fighting on "flagrant aggression" by Thai troops.

He said "Cambodian troops had no option but to retaliate in self-defence".

However, he did not explicitly call for UN intervention.

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