Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Cambodia Says it Faces Chemical Weapons in Clash With Thailand


via CAAI

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cambodia late last week claimed Thailand was using chemical weapons in clashes between the two nations' military forces, the Associated Press reported. Thailand quickly rejected the allegation (see GSN, July 26, 2005).

The Cambodian Defense Ministry said in a prepared statement that 75 mm and 105 mm munitions "loaded with poisonous gas" had been fired from Thailand into Cambodia. It did not provide additional detail.

The second in command of Cambodia's artillery branch, Col. Suos Sothea, also told AP that the Thai military launched artillery shells filled with "poison smoke" that did not cause any deaths but did cause weakness in the arms and legs of a number of troops.

Cambodia also alleged that Thailand was using cluster munitions and reconnaissance aircraft in the conflict.

"I'd like to categorically deny that the Thai military has used any kind of aircraft," Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told reporters in Bangkok. "I'd like to reiterate that the accusations from Cambodia hold no truth at all. What they said about us using poisonous gas was not true either."

The head of Thailand's 2nd Army Region, Col. Tawatchai Samutsakorn, also dismissed claims that his nation's military was using cluster or chemical weapons.

Both Cambodia and Thailand are member states to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits development, production, stockpiling and use of arms carrying materials such as mustard blister agent or the nerve agents VX and sarin.

The two nations since 2008 have skirmished on a number of occasions over disputed territory along their shared boundary.

The latest burst of fighting began on Friday and mostly involved artillery fire. As of Saturday, four Thai soldiers had been killed and 17 injured, according to Tawatchai. Six Cambodian troops were said killed.

Thousands of civilians in both nations had been relocated from the fighting zone (Sopheng Cheang, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, April 23).

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