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Thai troops hurt by mines

Thai troops hurt by mines

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Preah Vihear province

Blasts put border on edge following last week's shootings

HENG CHIVOAN

Cambodian soldier Ly Sophan, 22, points to damage done during Friday’s firefight between Thai and Cambodian troops.

TWO Thai soldiers were seriously injured Monday by land mine blasts in a disputed area on the Cambodian border, officials said, as tensions remained high following last week's clash between Thai and Cambodian troops.

The two blasts happened in quick succession around 10am in the Veal Antri area, near where Friday's firefight occurred, Cambodian commanders in the area told the Post. They added that a Thai military helicopter was seen arriving at the area a little more than an hour later.

"We have received information that two Thai soldiers stepped on land mines," said Yim Phim, commander of RCAF's Brigade 43.

He added that he feared Thai troops had been preparing to launch an attack on his positions when they were turned back by the mine explosions. "We were lucky not to clash," he said.

Council of Ministers Secretary of State Phay Siphan confirmed that two Thais were wounded by land mines, saying one soldier lost a leg while the other lost both of his legs.

"This is another invasion by Thai troops into Cambodian territory," he said.

Both governments have accused the other of violating an agreement not to engage in armed conflict after last week's incident, which broke out about two kilometres from Preah Vihear temple.

Tensions flared in July after Thai troops entered Cambodian territory near the Preah Vihear complex, a famed set of Cambodian ruins that shortly before had been awarded Unesco World Heritage status.

The incident escalated into the largest recent buildup of soldiers and military equipment, including artillery and tanks, along the border. More than 1,000 Cambodian and Thai soldiers faced off near the temple itself with thousands of others stationed at potential flashpoints along the border, Cambodian military commanders said at the time.

Since then, many of the troops have been redeployed away from the temple following several rounds of talks.

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