Koh Santepheap newspaper
19th February, 2009
Reported in English by Khmerization
The Cambodian Foreign Ministry said that it will lodge a diplomatic complaint to the shelling of Cambodian territories by Thai troops on 17th February, even if Thailand has apologised.Mr. Koy Kuong, Foreign Ministry’s Secretary of State, said on the 18th February that the Foreign Ministry has sent military personnel to investigate the shelling to find out of where and how many shells were fired into Cambodian territories.
Mr. Koy Kuong said that he does not know the reasons why the Thai troops fired those artillery shells into Cambodia. The Thai commanders based in the areas has apologised to the Khmer commanders, but Mr. Koy Kuong said that diplomatic protest will still be lodged.
Speaking in an interview with Radio Free Asia, Mr. Koy Kuong said: “We will lodge a diplomatic protest with Thailand in the not too distant future. We only need to wait for enough information first.”
On 17th February, 10 artillery shells fired from Kap Cherng district of Sisaket province landed a few kilometres inside Cambodian territories. The shells landed a near Boss Thmor Daun village and Chup Angkanh village of Kork Kposs commune, Banteay Ampil district in Ouddor Meanchey province. Seven shells exploded and 3 shells did not explode.
Cambodian military sources said that the Thai said that they were doing a military exercise in Andet Mut commune of Kap Cherng district in Sisaket province. The Cambodian military sources said that the artillery shells were probably fired from artillery guns mounted on military tanks.
Mr. Var Kim Hong, chairman of Cambodian Border Committee, said that the Thai shelling are in violation of international laws and Cambodian sovereignty. He added that Thailand has every right to stage a military exercise, but to fire artillery shells into Cambodian territories is a violation of Cambodian sovereignty.
Villagers living in the border areas said that up until now they still hear the sounds of artillery fires on the Thai side of the borders which caused the Cambodian villagers to live in fears.
Sources close to the Cambodian government said that the Cambodian side has been very patient in regard to past border violations from Thailand because Cambodia wants a good neighbourly relationship with Thailand. Cambodia has agreed to engage in many bilateral talks with Thailand in good faith, but it seems that the Thai side has not reciprocated in the same manners as it has repeatedly caused problems by violating Cambodian sovereignty again and again.
Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the government spokesman, cannot be contacted to make any comments, but he has said yesterday that a team of military personnel has been sent to the areas to investigate the Thai shelling. He said that Cambodia will send a diplomatic aide-memoire through the Thai embassy.
A Cambodian military source based near Ta Krabey and Ta Moan Thom temples said that on the afternoon of 18th February, Gen. Kun Kim, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), has led a team of military personnel to investigate the matter on the spots.
A Cambodian military officer said that the shells landed approximately 1-2 kilometres northeast of Ta Krabey temple inside Cambodian territories.