More than a dozen people were injured in a clash yesterday afternoon, when two opposition party lawmakers led some 200 Cambodians to inspect the Cambodia-Vietnam border in Svay Rieng province.
Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers Real Camerin and Um Sam An yesterday led nearly 200 youths, monks and Svay Rieng residents towards the border crossing in Kampong Ro district, said Sin Noeun, a border police chief.
Noeun alleged that when the group, which had been denied permission by Vietnamese officials to inspect a road being constructed in Vietnam that some argue encroaches on Cambodian territory, arrived at 2:30pm, they were attacked.
“I do not know the exact demarcation [of where Cambodian territory ends],” Noeun said yesterday.
“During the scuffle, the Vietnamese used sticks and garden hoes, while our Cambodians had no weapons . . . The authorities tried to intervene to no avail; they fought for about 20 minutes.”
Vietnamese authorities could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The incident occurred shortly after the group was blocked by Vietnamese border officials, Camerin said.
In all, 10 Cambodian people and eight Vietnamese people sustained injuries of varying severity during the clash, according to a report of the incident from the border posting.
Camerin, who said Vietnamese authorities as well as villagers became involved in the brawl, blamed the violence on the Vietnamese yesterday.
During a phone interview, he said he was “seriously injured” and was on his way from Svay Rieng to Phnom Penh to receive treatment.
“I was beaten severely by Vietnamese authorities and villagers on my neck and near my eyes,” Camerin said in an interview yesterday.
“The Vietnamese people started the violence, they walked behind us when we were walking back [after being blocked by border officers] and beat us.”
Sam An, who led the group with Camerin, also said that the melee was sparked by armed Vietnamese people.
He added that he believed they were blocked by Vietnamese border officers, because the road construction that they wanted to inspect trespasses onto Cambodian land by about 100 metres.
“Since this is disputed land, Vietnam must not construct this road, the government must prohibit it,” Sam An said.
CNRP members will meet and file a complaint to the International Court of Justice in the coming weeks regarding yesterday’s incident, Camerin said.