Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cambodian, Thai troops exchange gunfire on border (Lead)

(EDS: UPDATING) Cambodian and Thai troops briefly exchanged gunfire in Cambodian territory known as Eagle Field on Friday morning, a government official said. The skirmish occurred at 7:15 a.m. for a few minutes after Thai troops intruded into the area, Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Council of Ministers, said.
But Sansern Kaewkumnerd, a Thai army spokesman, told Kyodo News in Bangkok the incident began after about 20 Cambodian soldiers crossed to a spot where a Thai soldier was badly injured by a land mine Thursday. He said that position is inside Thai territory.
Both sides said there were no casualties in the Friday morning firefight. Phay Siphan had said Thursday that a land mine left over from the time of the Cambodian civil war exploded about 600 meters inside Cambodia , injuring a Thai soldier on his left leg. He said about 30 Thai soldiers had intruded into the area but returned to their previous position soon after the injured soldier was evacuated from the area in a Thai military helicopter.
Gen. Srey Dek, the Cambodian field commander in the area, said the tension has eased since early Friday but remains ''cautious.'' He added that he expects to speak directly with his Thai counterpart later in the morning to seek ways to defuse the situation.
Eagle Field is about 2 kilometers west of Preah Vihear Temple , an ancient Cambodian temple on the Cambodian side of the border with Thailand that has been at the center of a tense standoff between Thai and Cambodian troops since the middle of last year.
KyodoApril 03, 2009

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