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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Anlong Veng border skirmish resolved by Thai, RCAF troops

Anlong Veng border skirmish resolved by Thai, RCAF troops

The dispute focused on a small house built by Thai soldiers in the no-man's land between the neighbouring countries, officials say.

A DISPUTE between Cambodian and Thai troops at a border crossing in Anlong Veng province was resolved Monday after Cambodian soldiers removed a small house that Thai personnel had built in "no-man's land".

Touch Ra, the deputy chief of the Chom border crossing, said Thai soldiers had built the house 100 metres from the gate after seeing Cambodian soldiers ostensibly clearing land in the disputed area.

"Thai soldiers said they built their house after they saw a Cambodian tractor clearing rubbish from the site - they were concerned that Cambodian soldiers were going to build a house on it," Touch Ra said, explaining that neither side was permitted to build there. "After we told them our tractor was simply clearing away rubbish that smelled bad, they returned to their base."

Nuon Nov, a deputy commander of Military Region 4, said Tuesday both sides had met to defuse the situation: "Our soldiers on the front line often meet with Thai soldiers to ensure any problems are solved peacefully - after all, we are neighbours."

Further east in Preah Vihear province, Sao Socheat, also a deputy commander of Military Region 4, told the Post that two weeks ago Thai soldiers had secretly planted cement poles linked with barbed wire at the Anses area in Choam Ksan district, adding that Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers had since removed them.

"We got reports from RCAF troops on the border that there were some places where cement poles with Thai lettering had been placed. We are investigating this," Sao Socheat said, adding that Thai soldiers often crossed into Cambodian territory to erect cement poles instead of demarcation poles along the disputed border.

Cambodia and Thailand have had a tense 12 months, with four soldiers killed in a firefight at Preah Vihear temple in northern Cambodia late last year. A long-standing dispute over the 800-kilometre border has kept the issue in the news for more than a year.

The two governments recently agreed to resolve the issue amicably, and Cambodia's top border negotiator, Var Kimhong, is to meet with his Thai counterpart in Siem Reap in April.



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