A Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldier and a Thai counterpart were injured Monday in a shoot-out near the Ang Sas border checkpoint in Preah Vihear province, according to military officials, marking the first exchange of fire between the two countries since the Thai military ousted the elected government in May.
Provincial military commander Brigadier General Som Bopharath said the shootings were caused by confusion among soldiers stationed on either side of the border.
“They mistook a soldier for somebody else as both sides were patrolling,” said Brig. Gen. Bopharath, who added that General Chea Dara, deputy commander of RCAF, briefed him on the incident.
He added that officials did not know which side fired the first shot.
Brig. Gen. Bopharath said there was no cause for concern about a return to hostilities at the border, which last saw clashes between Thai and Cambodian soldiers in 2011.
“The border is normal and calm after the brief gunfire and our commanders have negotiated the matter,” he said.
Meas Yoeun, deputy provincial RCAF commander, said the injured Cambodian soldier was being treated at Siem Reap provincial hospital, but did not know what condition he was in.
Chea Kimseng, Choam Ksan district governor, named the soldier as Var Savuth, in his early 30s, and said that he sustained bullet wounds to his left leg, right hip and right shoulder.
Despite warm relations with the administration of former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Cambodia’s government has quickly adapted to the new regime.
In late July, Defense Minister Tea Banh led a delegation—including Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son, Major General Hun Manet—to Bangkok and was photographed holding hands with Gen. Prayuth. Earlier that month, he told troops on the border that there was “no problem” with the Thai junta.