A ceasefire on the border is effectively underway after contacts on Thursday morning between Thai and Cambodian military commanders in the area where fighting has been occuring, national army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said.
A ceasefire on the border was effectively underway after contacts on Thursday morning between Thai and Cambodian military commanders in the area where fighting has been occuring, national army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said.
The army chief said this move followed a heavy exchange of fire near Chong Chom pass in Surin province this morning.
National army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha
"Actually, a ceasefire has begun. Unit commanders of the two sides in the area had talks to end the fighting. Let's wait and see whether there will be more fighting this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow.
"If there is no more fighting, Lt-Gen Tawatchai Samutsakhon, the 2nd Army commander, will tomorrow (Friday) meet and hold talks with Lt-Gen Chea Mon, Cambodia's 5th Army Region commander," Gen Prayuth said.
The army chief said this after attending the funeral of soldiers killed in action in Surin.
"The 2nd Army chief and his Cambodian counterpart have been in contact," he added.
An informed source said on Thursday morning Cambodian deputy army chief Hun Manet and Lt-Gen Chea Mon sent their representatives to negotiate with Thai soldiers at Chong Chom pass in Surin for a ceasefire.
The source said the Cambodian force, commanded by Lt-Gen Hun Manet at O Samed opposite Chong Chom pass, suffered heavy casualties during a fierce exchange of fire this morning.
Gen Prayuth said the situation was likely to improve now the Cambodian side showed they wanted to talk, unlike in the past when they refused to do so.
The army chief said he was also concerned about the well-being of Thai villagers in the area, although most of them had been evacuated to safe havens.
"Let us hope that from now there will not be a single shot fired, but if they open fire we will return fire to stop them. We will not let any force intrude onto Thai territory," said Gen Prayuth.
A Thai soldier was injured in a Thai-Cambodian border clash on April 28, 2011. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
The army chief admitted troops had been reinforced to the area following an assessment of the situation and intelligence operations to ascertain the movements of the other side.
Asked if it would be best if Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh could meet for talks, Gen Prayuth said he supports talks of all levels, ranging from commanders in the area to high-level commanders of the Defence Ministry.
Army Region 2 spokesman Prawit Hukaew said a Thai soldier was confirmed killed in the clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops on the border in Surin on Wednesday night.
The casualty, identified as Second Lt Uthai Muen-apai, was the sixth Thai soldier killed since the fighting began last Friday, Col Prawit said.
The spokesman said three Thai villagers suspected of spying on Thai soldiers and passing information to Cambodian forces were arrested today for interrogation.
He said the three were apprehended near Ban Don Nam Tan in tambon Bak Dai of Surin's Phanom Dong Rak district.
They are suspected of reporting the locations of targets by mobile phone to Cambodian soldiers for attack.
They were identified as Thanit Srisa-nga, of tambon Khok Klang, Sanit Pinkao, of Ban Nong Khanna, and Sermsuk Phochaiserm, of Ban Don Nam Tan.
Col Prawit said the three were still being questioned and it was not yet confirmed they were spying for Cambodia.