Skip to comments.Deadly fighting erupts at Thai-Cambodian border
Posted on 10/15/2008 7:45:42 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Tensions between Thailand and Cambodia over a border area near a historic temple erupted in a deadly gunbattle, prompting officials on both sides to quickly call for resolving the conflict through talks, not bullets.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said military officials from both sides would meet Thursday in Thailand to discuss the previous day's clash, which killed at least two Cambodian soldiers and wounded a total of eight from both sides.
Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat pledged to "use peaceful means."
"If there is violence, we have to negotiate," Somchai said.
Wednesday's clash was the first deadly fighting in four months of tensions since Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was declared a U.N. World Heritage site.
Many Thais feared their country's claim over nearby land would be undermined, and anti-government protesters have pressed their government to take a harder line on the border conflict, seeking to discredit its patriotic credentials. The protesters have sought the ouster of Thailand's ruling party, occupying the grounds of the prime minister's offices for the past two months.
The fighting Wednesday afternoon lasted for about an hour, with each side accusing the other of firing first.
The battle killed at least two Cambodian soldiers and wounded three others, according to Cambodia's Foreign Ministry. Five Thai soldiers were wounded, the Thai army said.
Thailand's Foreign Ministry said Thai soldiers were peacefully patrolling their own territory along the border when Cambodian soldiers shot at them with rocket propelled grenades and submachine guns.
Cambodia's Foreign Ministry accused Thai troops of launching "heavy armed attacks" at three different locations to push back Cambodians from positions inside Cambodian territory.
The fighting was the latest flare-up in a decades-old dispute over a stretch of jungle near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.
(Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
Sounds more like a gang fight in the 'hood or the barrio than a battle between national armies.
This particular tempest has been brewing for awhile. That temple in question is within the Cambodian border, but claimed by the Thais as an historic Thai site.