Gunfire briefly broke out between Cambodian and Thai forces on Saturday at the border of Battambang province and Thailand’s Trat province as soldiers patrolled the border accompanied by dogs, military and police officials said yesterday. No injuries were reported.
Brigadier General Tuy Bunly of RCAF Region 5 said the gunfire occurred in the village of Peamta in Samlot district’s Ta Tork commune, but was not serious and that no one was hurt.
“The Thai army fired about 10 bullets from an M-16 rifle at our soldiers, and our soldiers shot at them about 13 bullets using AK-47 rifles at 10 am Saturday,” he said.
“First, a Thai dog came to bite our Cambodian soldiers’ dog and then our soldiers chased the Thai dog out. When our soldiers chased it out, Thai solders shot at our soldiers and then we shot against them,” Brig Gen Bunly said. “This is the first time gunfire has occurred between Cambodian and Thai soldiers at the border in Samlot district.”
District police chief Ly Bouy said the Thais instigated the shootout.
“The Thai army fired first with 10 bullets,” he said. “They wanted to threaten our Samlot district soldiers and dared them to return fire. Our soldiers then fired their AK-47 weapons back, according to my border police officers’ report.”
Duong Siphan, chief of border police unit 310 in Samlot, said the Thais were firing at the Cambodian soldiers’ dog.
“Our border soldiers were patrolling at the border accompanied by their dog, which was running around the jungle at 10 am Saturday. At that time, the Thai army fired their M-16 rifles at our soldiers’ dog. So our soldiers fired back, before everyone returned to their positions,” Mr Siphan said.
“Tomorrow, we will talk with Thai border army in order to stop accidental gunfire.”
Major General Bung Seng, commander of RCAF Region 5, said that he had not yet received the report from border soldiers but added: “The incident will not affect the border between Cambodia’s Battambang province and Thailand’s Trat province.”