Border Battle Kills 2 RCAF Troops: Minister

A gunbattle erupted Wednes­day near Preah Vihear temple, re­sult­ing in the deaths of two RCAF soldiers, according to Cambodian officials. Also, 10 Thai soldiers were captured near the temple and are being held by RCAF, ac­cording to Foreign Af­fairs Min­ister Hor Namhong.

Following the fighting, which an official at the border said lasted about an hour, Thailand and Cam­bodia traded blame over who had initiated the skirmish and breached agreements made at several bilateral meetings since the border standoff began exactly three months ago.

“[Wednesday at 2:15 pm] Thai troops launched heavy armed at­tacks upon the Cambodian troops… in an apparent attempt to force the Cambodian troops out of their present positions inside Cambodian territory,” read a letter from the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minist­ry to its Thai counterpart.

Two RCAF soldiers were killed and three injured, according to the statement. Fighting occurred at three points, the statement said: the pagoda near the Preah Vihear temple, where Hor Namhong told report­ers that the two soldiers were kill­ed; Veal Intry, or “Eagle Field,” an area just west of the temple that both Thailand and Cambodia claim as their own; and Phnom Trap, a hill about 4 km west of the temple.

These points of conflict lay 700       .meters, 1,120 meters and 1,600 meters, respectively, inside Camb­odian territory, the statement said.

Thailand had a different version of events:

“Thai soldiers, while peacefully patrolling the area along the Thai-Cambodian border inside Thai territory…were shot at by Cam­bodian soldiers using RPG and sub-machine guns, which resulted in the injuries of five Thai soldiers,” read a letter from the Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry to its Cambodian counterpart.

 

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