Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Gunfire exchange between Cambodian, Thai troops continues in fifth day

via CAAI   2011-04-26

PHNOM PENH, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The gunfire exchange between Cambodian and Thai troops over the disputed border area at the 13th century Ta Moan temple and Ta Krabei temple in Oddar Meanchey province still continues as of 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday, said Pich Sokhin, the governor of Oddar Meanchey province.

The Tuesday's fight began at 1:40 p.m. at the 11th century Preah Vihear temple and spread to burst out at the Ta Moan temple and Ta Krabei temple at 2:10 p.m.

"It's the longest fighting today, now it has been going on for more than 7 hours, and it's still continuing," the governor told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday night, adding that the casualties are not available yet.

He said that Thailand has been using small guns and artilleries to fire on Cambodian troops and territory.

"We have exchanged some small weapons and big ones such as BM21 in order to protect our territory from invasion," he said.

"It's reported that some of our troops are injured," he said. "And our troops reported that more Thai troops have been reported killed and injured in today's fighting."

Cambodia said that Thai troops have launched attacks on Cambodia to capture the 13th century Ta Moan temple and Ta Krabei temple, which lie 150 kilometers west of the Preah Vihear Temple.

"So far, our troops are still in firm and full control of the temple of Ta Moan and the temple of Ta Krabei," he added.

He said that as of Tuesday evening, the number of Cambodian evacuees has increased to 28,180 people.

Meanwhile, the electricity in the whole Oddar Meanchey province is cut on Tuesday night due to the fighting and some evacuees who take refuge in Samrong district in the province have continued to move to other places in order to escape from Thai artillery shelling, he added.

The latest in a series of deadly clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops have occurred for five straight days from April 22-26 at the 13th century Ta Moan temple and Ta Krabei temple in Oddar Meanchey province and on April 26 at the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, the World Heritage site.

The clashes left at least a dozen of both sides' troops killed and more than 30 injured.

The fighting has not only cost lives, damaged the temples, but also forced tens of thousands of civilians of both countries to flee for safe shelters.

The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been completely demarcated.

Although the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Temple of Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia, the row over the 4.6-square-km territory around the temple has never been resolved.

The conflict has occurred just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, since then both sides have built up military forces along the border, and periodic clashes happened, resulting in the deaths of troops on both sides.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

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