Recent Temple Standoff Blamed on Military

The Thai Foreign Ministry on Tuesday accused the Cambodian military of instigating last week’s military standoff at Ta Krabey temple in Oddar Meanchey province.

The Thai ministry said 70 Cam­bodian troops entered the temple vicinity on Sept 6 and refused to leave, constituting a “violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Thailand.”

In turn, the Thai ministry said 35 Thai paramilitary troops entered the area and brokered talks with the Cambodian military from Saturday to Sunday.

“Tensions have since eased with troops on both sides redeployed away from each other. Currently, no troops from either side are in the temple,” the Thai ministry said.

Thailand’s version of events starkly differed from that put forth by the Cambodian military, which said last week that 150 Thai troops entered the temple Sept 10, prompting 200 Cambodian troops to surround it and demand the Thais pull back.

Elsewhere along the province’s border, Thai border police Monday demolished a small wooden home near Chum Sangam International border gate after Cambodian villa­gers violated an agreement to not build more homes in the disputed area, officials said.

Oddar Meanchey province RCAF Deputy Commander Him Seab said Cambodian and Thai militaries agreed earlier this year to remove all villagers from this border area.

“The authority told the cottage owners to remove their homes before they are removed by the authorities,” he said Tuesday by telephone.

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