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Red Shirts pitch in to protect border markers

AROUND 50 antigovernment Red Shirts helped the Thai military prevent a group of between 150 and 180 pro-government Yellow Shirts from uprooting a border marker near the Ta Moan Touch temple in Oddar Meanchey province over the weekend, Cambodian officials said Sunday.

Various Thai and Cambodian media outlets last week reported that a group of Yellow Shirts led by Thai lawmaker Veera Somkwamkid intended to uproot border markers in an area near Ta Moan Touch and Ta Moan Thom temples.

Defense Ministry Spokesman Chhum Socheat said that the group was intercepted by Thai soldiers and Red Shirts in Thailand’s Surin province on Saturday.

“Cambodian and Thai military commanders at the front line met to discuss this and agreed to prevent them from uprooting the marker. We had good cooperation from the Thai side on this matter,” he said, adding that he believes the Red Shirts want to avoid conflict with Cambodia.

Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, said the Cambodian government is ready to use military force to prevent cross-border incursions.

“This is just a small group of Thai extremists – they are not representative of Thai nationals entirely,” he said. “The Thai government itself has the obligation to prevent their people [from encroaching] in order to keep good relationship between the two neighbours.”

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