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Cambodian, Thai military clashes still continues as battle at Preah Vihear temple on high alert

04-22-2011 15:33 BJT

PHN0M PENH, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Armed clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops over the border disputed areas at Ta Mon Thom temple and Ta Krabek temple in Oddar Meanchey province still continue until 9:10 a.m., officials said Friday.

Pich Sokhin, provincial governor of Cambodia's Oddar Meanchey province, said, "Now both small and heavy weapons are being used in the fighting," he told Xinhua by telephone on Friday at 9:10 a. m.

The clashes began at 6:00 a.m.

"Thai troops have opened fire on our troops first," he said, " Cambodian troops just conduct self-defense moves and protect our territory."

He said that Thai troops have prepared in advance in this morning's clashes.

"We have observed that Thailand had added more troops, ammunitions and fighting vehicles since on Thursday's evening," he said.

The governor said that some Cambodian soldiers have been reported injured, but the exact figure is not available.

He said that at around the fighting zone, there are about 2,000 Cambodian families living and now they have not yet evacuated, but hiding in the bunkers.

"We have already prepared trucks, just in case the fighting still continues and spread bigger, we will evacuate them from their villages to a safe shelter in Banteay Ampil district--20 kilometers from the fighting area," he said.

Meanwhile, Phay Siphan, a spokesman of Cambodia's Office of the Council of Ministers, also confirmed the fighting and said the clash started after Thai troops trespassed between 300 and 500 meters into Cambodian territory and opened fire at Cambodian troops.

He said that Thailand is violating a permanent ceasefire and is acting against the decision of the United Nations Security Council. Cambodia has no reason to invade Thai territory.

"Cambodia might seek another intervention from the UNSC," he added. "The Thai military's move is against the principle of the U.N. Security Council who called for a permanent ceasefire."

As the fighting at Ta Mon Thom temple and Ta Krabek temple are continuing, a military commander at the battle zone near Preah Vihear temple, some 80 kilometers from Ta Mon Thom temple and Ta Krabek temple, said that troops at the zone are also in very high alert.

"So far, there is nothing happened at the frontline at Preah Vihear temple yet, but our troops are on very high alert to defend our territory from any invasion from Thai side," a brigadier general Thul Sovan, deputy commander of Cambodian Military Division 3, stationed at the frontline near Preah Vihear temple, told Xinhua by telephone.

The military clash reoccured just more than two months after the deadly clash lasting from Feb. 4 to 7 at the border disputed area next to Preah Vihear temple, the World Heritage Site.

The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been completely demarcated and the issue of Preah Vihear temple has been an age-old dispute.

Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. Just a week after the enlistment, Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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