Surin, Buriram gradually close evacuation centres as border situation eases

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BANGKOK, May 2 – Surin and Buriram, two Thai provinces bordering Cambodia, have gradually closed their evacuation centres for local villagers centres as the residents are returning home as the border situation has eased, with no heavy weapons clashes taking place between Thai and Cambodia troops.

While Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ordered the army to high alert at the Thai-Cambodian border as Cambodia is still using tactics to incite [incidents] and making sporadic attacks with small arms.

He added that the sniping and inciting by Cambodian troops could eventually lead to intensified clashes anytime so that the army must closely monitor situation.

Surin Governor Serm Chainarong said the province had closed 35 evacuation centres and provided transportation for some 44,000 villagers to return to their homes after the situation returned to normal.

He said that during the last four days, there were no heavy weapons in action on the Cambodian side.

In Buriram, Governor Thani Samartkij closed three evacuation centres following the clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops at Surin’s Phanom Dong Rak district had eased with only small weapons fire being heard.

Villagers who fled the fighting to shelter at centres in Ban Kruat and Prakhon Chai districts have gradually returned to their homes. The province has closed three centres and six remaining centres are expected to be closed on Monday.

Mr Thani said six villagers were wounded from the fighting. Two homes were destroyed and 14 homes were damaged.

Meanwhile, minister attached to the prime minister’s office Ongart Klampaiboon reiterated that during the border clashes between April 22- May 2, eight Thai soldiers were killed and 131 were wounded.

One civillian was killed in the while three died from congenital diseases at hospital in Surin, he said.

Mr Ongart said he has instructed Surin governor to build 169 additional bunkers in at-risk areas in the province.