Army dismisses reports of Thai-Cambodian military clash


BANGKOK, Jan 25 – The Royal Thai Army on Wednesday dismissed reports of a renewed clash between Thai and Cambodian soldiers at Ta Kwai Temple, but conceded that one soldier was wounded in a gunshot accident.

Thai army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd stood firm that there was no military clash at the Surin province bordering Cambodia.

Col Sansern said the Second Army Region Command reported that the wounded soldier was Cpl Veerawat Pairoh, accidentally shot in the leg while on patrol along the border as another soldier fell and accidentally shot him with his 9mm pistol. The wounded man was sent to hospital.

The army spokesman said there was no reaction from Cambodian soldiers following the accident.

Second Army Region commander Lt-Gen Thawatchai Samutsakorn who oversees the border area earlier said that no clash between troops of the two neighbours had occurred.

Ties between Thailand and Cambodia have been strained with sporadic clashes between their troops since the historic Preah Vihear temple was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but a 4.6 square kilometre (1.8 square mile) surrounding area remains in dispute as both countries claim ownership of the tract.

The court, last July ordered Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw their troops from the newly-defined demilitarised zone in a disputed portion of their border around the temple while urging both countries to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to agree to allow the regional bloc’s observers to enter the disputed zone.

The two neighbours agreed to follow the court’s order and use the General Border Committee mechanism to consider details in implementing it.