Renewed fighting between government forces and troops loyal to Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh left three rebel fighters dead on the weekend, amid reports that more than 1,000 Cambodians have crossed the border to escape the fighting.
Three resistance fighters died during a surprise attack Sunday led by resistance commander Lay Virak on the village of O’ Bai Choan, an area of frequent clashes between resistance and RCAF troops, Col Ek Som On, cabinet chief of Military Region 5, said Wednesday.
The clashes, which involved light arms fire only and destroyed one house, lasted about 20 minutes, he said.
The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday that four resistance soldiers were wounded in the attack and taken to a Thai hospital.
There have been no further clashes since the weekend, Ek Som On said.
Thai military sources told Agence France-Presse that the new round of fighting broke out last Thursday in O’Bai Choan.
The Bangkok Post said Tuesday that almost 1,500 Cambodians had fled across the border into Ta Phraya district in Sa Kaew province to escape the fighting. They were taken to a temporary shelter near a border patrol police checkpoint about 4 km from the border, according to the paper.
Earlier in August, about 520 civilians from the O’Bai Choan area fled to Ta Phraya to escape fighting.
The Thai daily newspaper quoted Kao Chun, 53, who led O’Bai Choan villagers across the border, as saying it was the seventh time in 1998 that his group had been forced to flee fighting. “Most Cambodian civilians live in fear and are starving to death as a result of frequent fighting,” he said.
Some return home themselves when they feel it is safe, while others are accommodated in camps until they want to return with the assistance of the UN.