Thai, Cambodian Troops Exchange Fire, Boost Troops

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Thailand and Cambodia have reinforced troops along their border in Surin after both sides exchanged fire yesterday.

Thai and Cambodian troops exchanged heavy fire for almost an hour at 8am yesterday, 8km east of Chong Chom checkpoint in Surin.

Troops exchanged fire again around 9.30am in the same spot for about 15 minutes.

No casualties were reported.

Following the clashes, Thailand's Ranger Forces Regiment 16 commander Col Adul Boonthamcharoen and Cambodia's region 4 border affairs chief met to negotiate a ceasefire.

The situation remained tense, however, as both sides refused to withdraw and instead reinforced troops and arms along the border.

A Thai army source said the incident happened after a patrol unit found that Cambodian troops were leading their citizens into a disputed area to build a village there. Thai troops ordered them to stop.

"Cambodian soldiers then opened fire on us, and we fired back," the source said.

There were no reports of injuries, but one ranger was missing after the clashes, said the source. The Suranari Task Force will send troops to inspect the area again today.

Cambodian defence ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat defended his troops' actions.

"While our troops were patrolling the border, the Thai soldiers opened fire at them. So our troops fired back," he said.

He said troops from both sides fired rockets and grenades as well as rifles, but calm returned after a meeting between Cambodian and Thai military commanders in the area. "It was a misunderstanding and nobody was injured in the clash," said a Thai army officer.


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