Hundreds Cross Into Thailand As 3 Die in Renewed Fighting Kills Kill 3

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.


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