Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government denies planting land mine

Government denies planting land mine

Government denies planting land mine

Cambodia flatly denied allegations made by Thailand that it was responsible for planting the mine that severely injured a Thai soldier last week, saying the old landmines were laid by the Khmer Rouge more than 30 years ago.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi told the Bangkok Post on Saturday that the incident was especially disappointing given the improving relations between the two countries.

“This was clearly in violation of Thai sovereignty and seriously injured a Thai soldier,” Thani said.

Sergeant Chatree Kaewprasan of the Thai 23rd Infantry Division was on a foot patrol in the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple on Wednesday night when a landmine blew off his right leg.

In a statement released the same day, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the border between the two countries is still heavily contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance that were buried by the Khmer Rouge, sometimes in Thai territory, over the course of nearly three decades of war.

“The area near Preah Vihear temple where a mine was set off by a Thai soldier was previously a battle zone and a sanctuary of the Khmer Rouge forces, who must have laid many landmines to protect their position during the war,” read the statement. “It is extremely sad and disturbing that such baseless accusations are made against Cambodia, when mine explosions are still a common occurrence, even in places inhabited or cultivated for years after the war ended.”

Heng Ratana, director general of Cambodian Mine Action Centre, said areas along the Thai-Cambodian border remain heavily mined.

“We cleared the areas around the temple and the pagoda [Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvara] in 2008, and we collected a lot of landmines,” said Heng Ratana. “But since we had the border dispute, we stopped the activity. Cambodian soldiers have also stepped on mines along the border before, not just Thai people.”

A Thai army spokesman Col Prawit Hukaew said both the wounded sergeant’s legs had been amputated and that he was now out of danger.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cheang Sokha at [email protected]

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all