Si Sa Ket, Feb 16 -- More than 30 explosions heard from inside the Cambodian border through last night (Feb15) which are believed to be an attempted provocation by Cambodian soldiers, but Thai troops held their fire and did not respond.
Sao Thongchai subdistrict official Chokchai Saikaew in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district told the media Wednesday morning that from 2-4am he heard bomb-like explosions from the border area pending demarcation, near the 4.6 square kilometre contested area in Rung sub-district of Kantharalak.
Mr Chokchai said he heard 30 to 40 explosions, like bombs or artillery shells, through the night, but that they stopped in the early morning. He did not know where the sound came from, but Thai troops stationed at the border did not fire in response as no shells landed on Thai territory.
Si Sa Ket governor Somsak Suwansujarit said he stayed overnight at Rung sub-district to give moral support to border villagers and heard the explosions.
He said initial reports confirmed that no shells fell in Thai territory but inside Cambodia, which he believed was an attempt by Cambodian soldiers to provoke Thai forces.
The Cambodian troops may have thrown hand grenades near Thai military posts but there was no response by Thai soldiers, he said.
The Si Sa Ket governor said that as a precautionary measure, he has ordered the authorities to speed the repairs to existing bomb shelters and to build new ones.
He said there were now 326 bomb shelters overall but 297 need repairs. The governor planned to build an additional 451 bunkers but was waiting for funds from the government.
As for the reconstruction of homes which were damaged in the attacks, vocational schools in Si Sa Ket joined with military engineers from the 2nd Army Area to help villagers.
It was estimated that rebuilding seven destroyed homes would take 35 days, while half of the damaged homes were already repaired so that villagers could return home.
The latest incident occurred after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen offered words of peace to Thailand, a day after the United Nations Security Council urged Thailand and Cambodia to end the conflict bilaterally.
The Associated Press (AP) quoted the Cambodian premier telling villagers in Banteay Meanchey province that his country needs peace with its neighbours to foster development. He urged that the deadly border issue be quickly solved and that fighting not be allowed to spread. (MCOT online news)