Friday, 11 February 2011

Thai Villagers Return Home after Cambodia Clashes

via CAAI


On Thursday, Thai villagers began trickling back to their homes near a disputed stretch of the border with Cambodia. Tension is starting to ease after deadly clashes over an ancient temple.

[Colonel Chinkart Ratanajittree, Army Spokesman]:
"If there is nothing happening on Friday the 11th, I think we can tell the villagers to begin returning to their homes."

But both Thai and Cambodian forces remained on alert a day after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the four days of fighting that began last Friday constituted "real war."

Thailand and Cambodia blame each other for the exchanges of fire near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple. The violence left three Thais and eight Cambodians dead. At least 34 Thais and 55 Cambodians have been wounded, according to statements from both sides.

The temple ruins, perched on a cliff overlooking the north Cambodian plain, have been an issue of contention between the neighbors since the 1950s.

Though the guns have been silent for a few days and attention is turning to diplomatic efforts to restore calm, more forces have been heading to the area.

One witness says several Thai army tanks and other armored vehicle were seen, a day after Thailand moved up about 20 tanks.

Although Thai army officials said the tanks are not reinforcing in the area, the message to Cambodia is clear.

Commanders on the Cambodian side have also denied beefing up their forces and say they are acting with maximum restraint.

Bilateral talks could take place in New York, possibly on Monday of next week.

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