PHOTO: Sovan Philong
Thursday, 28 April 2011 13:04Cheang Sokha and Thomas Miller
Civilian house destroyed by shells during Thai-Cambodian conflict.
Fighting between Cambodia and Thailand continued into a seventh straight day today, as Cambodia ramped up the rhetoric and accused Thailand of “genocidal acts”.
A brief midnight skirmish took place before igniting at about 2am into roughly eight hours of heavy fighting with artillery and rockets near Ta Moan and Ta Krabey temples along the border at Oddar Meanchey province. Sporadic fighting continued until late morning.
No report of casualties was available. At least 13 soldiers and one Thai civilian have been killed thus far in clashes that sparked on Friday.
Although Prime Minister Hun Sen called for ceasefire talks yesterday, his media arm escalated inflammatory rhetoric to new levels today.
In a statement released this morning, the Press and Quick Reactions Unit at the Council of Ministers accused Thailand of “blatant and naked aggression” that was a “prelude to all-out undeclared war”, claiming that artillery shells had landed more than 20 kilometres into Cambodian territory.
“Thailand’s inhumane and indiscriminate shelling of Cambodia is nothing short of crimes against humanity… These are apparent genocidal acts committed by Thailand on Cambodian soil against Cambodian civilians,” the statement said.
Neither Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn nor deputy Thai army spokesman Veerachon Sukondhadhpatipak were immediately available for comment.
Meanwhile, the United States Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, paid a visit to Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva this morning.
Walter Braunohler, spokesman for the US embassy in Bangkok, said Kenney “reiterated” comments made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who on Monday urged both sides to “immediately take all necessary steps to reduce tensions and avoid further conflict”.
Hundreds more people fled their homes in O’Smach town in Samrong district’s O’Smach commune, seeking shelter and security away from the violence on the border.
Electricity was cut in Samrong district at about 11am this morning for the second time during the clashes. District governor Phun Nol said the power, which is imported from Thailand, had been reconnected yesterday, following an outage on Monday, but local officials were preparing generators to address the issue.
“Right now we have two large spare generators in case Thailand disconnects electricity,” he said.