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Asia-Pacific

Two dead in Thai-Cambodian border dispute

media A house burns in a Thai village near the border between Thailand and Cambodia Reuters

A Thai civilian and a Cambodian soldier were killed Friday after Thai and Cambodian troops exchanged heavy fire near the disputed Preah Vihear temple, whose land straddles the border.

The villager was killed by artillery shelling and five Thai soldiers had been injured during the attacks, according to Thai Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

Cambodian defence ministry official Chhum Socheat said that, apart from one soldier’s death, four Cambodian soldiers had been wounded and four Thai soldiers had been captured during the fighting.

Cambodian foreign ministry spokesperson Koy Kuong told AFP that Phnom Penh was planning to make a formal complaint to the United Nations Security Council about what he called the “Thai invasion”. He claimed that Thai soldiers had fired artillery shells 18 to 20 kilometres into Cambodian territory.

Thailand and Cambodia accuse one another of having started the fighting near the 900-year-old Hindu temple, which lies near a dense jungle area that has been the scene of a number of disputes in recent years.

The two countries have had a strained relationship since July 2008, when deadly border clashes broke out.

The military has reportedly been building up on both sides of the border in the past few days. Hundreds of Yellow Shirts activists have been camping out around Bangkok’s Government House since last week, in protest at the government’s handling of the border dispute.

Officials said that residents in neighbouring villages in both Thai and Cambodian territory were being evacuated.

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