10 Thai troops injured after 'light weapons' clashes on border

Surin (The Nation-Thailand/ANN) - Ten more Thai soldiers were injured in the Thai-Cambodian border clashes in Surin province's Phanom Dongrak district on Friday (April 29) night until yesterday morning, bringing the cumulative Thai casualties to seven deaths and 95 injuries in the nine days of clashes.

Among the four injured soldiers from Friday night's clash, First-Lieutenant Kosit Songsaengkajorn suffered severe shrapnel wounds to his neck and back and was transferred to Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok, while others were airlifted to the Surin Centre Hospital and Weerawat Yothin Army Camp Hospital the same night. Six other soldiers were injured on Saturday (April 30) morning.

The border clash reoccurred despite the fact that a ceasefire was agreed by Thai and Cambodian field commanders.

Second Army spokesman Prawit Hookaew said that the Cambodian side explained that it was because "some units weren't yet informed (of the ceasefire)" and "there were some rogue soldiers".

He also declared a hint of a silver lining in that the reoccurring clashes so far utilised light weapons only.

This showed that field officers could still talk to each other and limit the fighting.

Since Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen declared that he wouldn't negotiate at all levels and would only table the issue at the Asean level - and announced that Cambodia was ready to go to war against Thailand - the Thai Army has remained cautious and was following the situation closely, he said.

Prawit also revealed that Cambodia had sent more backups to the clash area and reportedly recruited more fighters, especially former Khmer Rouge soldiers and their children.

"We haven't yet sent more back-up soldiers, (but) it wouldn't take a long time to send back-ups because most of the manpower are already in the Second Army area. We're using force only to defence our territory," he said adding that 36 out of the injured 95 soldiers already asked to be reinstated in the field.

Thai Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd commented that the Cambodian side admitted that there might be some stress in the areas that the ceasefire order haven't reached yet - hence the fighting wasn't completely halted.

But gunfire erupted lightly on and off and Thai troops just counter-fired. He said they would try to get the ceasefire in place first before negotiations at other levels could take place.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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