RCAF Trooper Injured in Veal Entry Mine Blast

A soldier stationed in Preah Vihear province was injured on Wednesday when he stepped on a landmine while patrolling the disputed border area at Veal Entry, an RCAF officer said yesterday.

Regular talks between Thai and Cambodian military commanders were due to continue today to settle on troop positions after a meeting on Wednesday failed to reach an agreement between the opposing armies, according to Cambodian military officials.

Yean Yim, the 35-year-old head of an RCAF patrol squadron within the 8th Brigade, 3rd Division, sustained moderate injuries after inadvertently detonating an old landmine buried in Veal Entry.

“He was cut on his right leg and was sent to the hospital,” said Lieutenant General Yim Pim, commander of the 8th Brigade, which is stationed at Veal Entry, adding that Mr Yim was treated and had since been released.

Patrols were stepped up recently in light of a renewed dispute over the demarcation of the Thai-Cambodian border. In October, government officials accused Thailand of falsifying maps of the area in defiance of a 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice, which ruled that Preah Vihear temple is Cambodian.

“Cambodia [troops] showed up with the Cambodia map and Thailand [troops] with their own map to talk but they did not reach an agreement and plan to talk more Friday,” said Lieutenant-General Chhum Sucheat, the Defense Ministry spokesman.

“The Thai commander asked me to accept their personal map, but I rejected it. I told Thailand that Cambodia could not accept a Thai map like this,” said Major General Srey Dek, commander of the RCAF 3rd Division, which is stationed near the temple.

According to Mr Dek, there were 10 troops from each side at the meeting, which lasted 40 minutes. At the meeting, Thai troops asked Cambodian troops to accept the border demarcated by their internal map rather than the international one upon which Cambodia recognizes the border, he said.

“Thailand maybe thinks Cambodian troops are stationed on their side because they are using their local map,” Mr Dek said.

Rath Sophear, director of the provincial information department, said that at the meeting Thai troops requested the removal of six houses where RCAF troops were stationed at the O’Chak Chreng hilltop area in Choam Ksan district, which Thailand insisted was a neutral zone on which neither side was permitted to build. The request was rejected, officials said.

 

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