Cambodian, Thai soldiers clash at disputed border
Bangkok – Cambodian soldiers fired on Thai soldiers, wounding two, Wednesday afternoon along the disputed border, according to Thai TV reports from the area. The Cambodian side opened fire at 2:25 pm and allegedly injured two Thai soldiers, according to the reports, which have not been confirmed by the Thai Foreign Ministry or the army.
The incident reportedly occurred 3 kilometres away from Phreah Vihear, an 11th century Hindu temple that has been the cause of many border disputes between the two neighbouring countries for almost five decades.
A similar clash occurred at the same site on October 3 that left two Thai soldiers and one Cambodian wounded. Thailand issued an official protest to the Cambodian government over the alleged border incursion.
Thai residents along the border have been told to evacuate in case of an escalation in the fighting, according to local media reports.
Thailand and Cambodia nearly came to blows over the Preah Vihear temple in July, shortly after UNESCO named the ancient Hindu temple a World Heritage Site despite Thai objections.
The temple, the object of disputed claims between Thailand and Cambodia since the 1950s, was granted to Cambodia by a ruling of the International Court of Justice in 1962.
But land adjacent to the temple compound, including its main entrance on the Thai side, has been claimed by both countries.
Both sides beefed up their troops in the area, situated about 400 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, after some ultra-nationalist Thais crossed into the disputed zone in a protest against the UNESCO ruling.
The border conflict was calmed in August when both sides agreed to settle the matter through bilateral talks held by a joint border committee.
The talks have been hampered by repeated claims of incursions into Cambodian territory and by Thailand’s chaotic domestic political situation.