Thursday, April 1, 2010

Army denies Cambodia's claims

01 Apr, 2010
Bangkok Post

The army on Thursday denied Cambodia's claims that it has won a victory over Thailand in their border conflict and that 88 Thai soldiers were killed in clashes along the disputed frontier during the past year.

Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the army spokesman, said ony three Thai soldiers had been killed, and a few more wounded.

He was responding to claims made by Gen Chea Dara, the deputy head of Cambodia's armed forces, that Phnom Penh's forces had won a victory. He claimed 88 Thai soldiers had been killed kin clashes over the past year.

He also said more than 50 per cent of the Thai troops station along the disputed border had been withdrawn and redeployed to security duties in Bangkok.

Gen Chea Dara also reportedly claimed that Thai troops would no longer dare to attack Cambodian soldiers.

The Phnom Penh Post newspaper, reported that Gen Chea Dara made his triumphant claims on Wednesday to a meeting of about 2,000 students and government officials in Phnom Penh.

He declared that Cambodia had won the war over ownership of the Phreah Vihear temple, both militarily and diplomatically, thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The general said the construction of a road to the Phrea Vihear ruins had greatly facilitated military operations and enabled Cambodian people to settle near the old Hindu temple, which sits right on the disputed border adjoining Si Sa Ket province.

He claimed that Cambodian exiled opposition party leader Sam Rainsy had colluded with Thailand, selling himself to Bangkok and giving permission for Thais to invade Cambodia. This allegation has been rejected by an opposition party spokesman.

In early March, Gen Chea Dara was also quoted by a foreign news agency as saying that as many as 88 Thai soldiers had been been killed along the border.

Col Sansern rejected all the claims.

"There have been no withdrawals of troops from the border. Our soldiers are still deployed along the border to protect our territorial sovereignty in line with our border defence plan.

"The information released by Cambodia that we have lost 88 Thai soldiers along the border during the past year is not true. In fact, only three Thai soldiers were killed and some others injured.

"Please believe our own information," Col Sansern said.

Pol Lt-Col Somchai Phetprasert, a Puea Thai MP for Nakhon Ratchasima and chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs, told the House meeting on Thursday morning that he heard that a Cambodian general said that Thai soldiers had been redeployed from the border to Bangkok.

He said this could result in lax security along the border. The government should ensure these troops were quickly returned to their former assignments.

No comments: