A Change of Guard

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Saturday, 30 April 2011

One soldier killed, 4 injured overnight

Published: 29/04/2011
Bangkok Post

One soldier was killed and four others wounded in fresh clashes along border in Surin on Thursday night, Army Region 2 commander Lt Gen Thawatchai Samutsakorn (pictured) said on Friday morning.

Army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the fighting started with an exchange of machinegun fire about 9pm and continued until about 5am Friday.

Surin governor Serm Chainarong said on Friday morning that the two sides exchanged fire using small arms at Ta Meun Tom and Ta Kwai temples about 11pm on Thursday and stopped about 5am on Friday.

More than 41,000 local people in risk districts of Phanom Dong Rak, Kap Choeng and Sangka have been relocated to 34 evacuation centres in Surin province, he added.

The overnight clash shattered the truce agreement announced yesterday by the army chief.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban indicated there might be a chance to salvage the truce.

"It's not considered a breach of ceasefire because they have used personal firearms. But if the clash expands with heavy weapons, that means the agreement is no longer valid," he told reporters.

Both sides had reacted cautiously to Thursday's peace deal, struck after talks among local commanders.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday that the agreement was a "good sign", but added that "we have to wait and see whether real peace has been achieved".

Thai and Cambodian commanders had agreed at the talks to reopen a border gate and "create a climate to allow civilians to return home", according to the Cambodian defence ministry.

Seven Thai troops and eight Cambodian soldiers have died since the clashes began last Friday. Bangkok has said a Thai civilian has also been killed.

Heavy weapons fire has also strayed towards villages around the frontier, causing over 41,000 people in Thailand and 30,000 in Cambodia to flee their homes [the actual number of displaced people on the Cambodian side is 45,200 people].

The two countries have each accused the other of sparking the violence.

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