Is this evidence of a cease fire working, when the guns are not silent!
A brief cease-fire between Thailand and Cambodia has broken down, shattering hopes for a quick end to the border conflict as the two sides exchanged fire for an eighth day and the death toll rose to 16.
Field commanders agreed to the truce in a meeting at the disputed border on Thursday. But Cambodian Colonel Suos Sothea said the Thai army fired artillery shells into Cambodia again on Friday and small arms fire crackled anew around the Ta Krabey temple, which lies in a disputed zone along the frontier. “We cannot trust the Thais,” he said. “Yesterday they said they’d stop fighting and now they are attacking us again.”
Thai army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said there had been light clashes late on Thursday as well as early on Friday. He blamed Cambodia for breaking the deal, saying its “local units might not agree to the talks as easily as their commanders did.”
The director of Phanom Dongrak hospital, about 20 km from the border, confirmed one Thai soldier was killed late on Thursday, bringing the total dead to 16.
It is reported from Korat, Thailand, near the border with Cambodia that “Thais are beefing up their presence, but Cambodians are doing the same as well. “More and more people in Thailand, are starting to believe that there are political motives behind these clashes. “Cambodia has used these clashes as a political tool for internal politics.”
Thailand and Cambodia regularly accuse each other of starting border fighting. The Thai-Cambodia border has never been fully demarcated, partly because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of war in Cambodia.
A malignant cancer is festering between the two countries over land near a different temple erupted into four days of fighting in February, leaving at least 10 people dead and prompting a UN appeal for a lasting ceasefire.”It is a very similar situation to other times we’ve seen such skirmishes. It’s very difficult to tell who fired first on these occasions. “The Thais say that the Cambodians came too close to the disputed border … in Surin, the Cambodians say that Thai soldiers actually crept across that disputed border into Cambodian territory.”
Ties between the neighbours have been strained since Preah Vihear was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but both countries claim ownership of a 4.6sq km surrounding area. Observers say the temple dispute has been used as a rallying point to stir nationalist sentiment in Thailand and Cambodia. “There are many parts of this border … that are disputed between the two countries,”. “They have fought over [the ancient Preah Vihear Temple] so many times, or at least the land surrounding that temple. “What we saw in February, when many people were also forced to flee their homes, they went to temporary evacuation centres inside schools, inside community buildings, and they stayed there for many days – weeks in some cases. “Certainly it’ll be the same case on the Cambodian side as well.
“This is Thailand (TIT), as usual its the other side that started the fight. “The whole world is wrong, and I am right” is a conservative statement, at the least. Just another case for the current Thai Government to stay in power, sometimes I wonder, whats the difference between these Thais and the dictators in the Middle East? Delaying elections, fighting on the border, closing down Radio Stations that oppose them, sactioning the Internet and not allowing freedom of press! So, whats next?”
- BBC News – Thailand and Cambodia agree truce after border clashes (phumkhmer.wordpress.com)