BANGKOK, Sept 17 (TNA) - A senior Thai Army officer denied a report in a Cambodian newspaper that Thai soldiers shot a Cambodian teenager and burned him alive, saying that the military units along the Thai-Cambodian border denied that such an incident happened.
Lt-Gen Wiboonsak Neephan, commander of the Second Army Region responsible for security affairs along the northeastern border told Thai News Agency that he had inquired every units along Thai-Cambodian border and the officials confirmed that nothing similar to the news report ever occurred and that he did not know why there was such a report in the media.
He affirmed that Thai soldiers would not do such a barbaric act as reported in the Cambodian newspaper and stated he thought that the information could be incorrect.
Gen Wiboonsak affirmed that the Thai-Cambodian Border Peacekeeping Committee is working closely to avoid border disputes and to offer certainty that actions are within the legal framework and agreements.
He added that Thailand and Cambodia had agreement to solve border disputes and the incident should not have happened.
The English-language Phnom Penh Post on Monday quoted Thon Nol, governor of Samrong district in Oddar Meanchey province as saying that a Cambodian teenager named Yon Rith, 16, was arrested and burned alive after Thai armed forces accused him of illegally felling trees.
Another teenager from the same village in Kon Kreal commune, 18-year-old Mao Kleung, was also shot and seriously wounded, he said, but villagers managed to carry him to Cambodian territory, and he is now in an Oddar Meanchey hospital.
Meanwhile, foreign media quoted Cambodian Deputy Foreign Minister Ouch Borith as saying that he had seen evidence proving the incident took place and urged Thailand to investigate what he said was a "brutal and inhumane" act.
Mr Borith said he had seen photographs of the charred body of a boy. He did not provide any evidence Thai soldiers were responsible.
As for the planned rally of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) near the Preah Vihear temple, Gen Wiboonsak said the contested area was dangerous zone and had few accommodations to facilitate the demonstrators.
The PAD “Yellow Shirts” plan to rally at the border province of Si Sa Ket on Saturday to protest against the Cambodian government, urging the Cambodians to withdraw their military and civilians from occupying the 4.6 square kilometre contested zone surrounding the 11th-century temple.
He said the Thai military had provided an area for the protesters to gather and urged the people who joined the rally to demonstrate under the legal framework and to bear in mind safety concerns.
Gen Wiboonsak said he believed the public know about the Thai-Cambodian border disputes and it would depend on cooperation from the public to ease the problems. He added that the public should realise (the importance) oft bilateral relations between Thailand and Cambodia and admitted that the protest may cause difficulty for the border talks.
Meanwhile, a reporter in Si Sa Ket reported that police had set up barricades at Phoomsarol temple in Kantharalak district to block the road to Khao Phra Wihan National Park to inspect vehicles and people who pass the entrance to the park.
The reporter said paramilitary rangers and military personnel from the Suranaree Task Force had also set up barricades with barbed-wire and other obstacles at the Forest Fire Control Unit Office about100 metres from the national park checkpoint and did not allow anyone to enter the park, including media.
Khao Phra Viharn National Park is the Thai gateway to the ancient Preah Vihear Temple.
Twenty PAD members reportedly occupied the border cooperation office near the park checkpoint and security personnel detained them at the office.
In related developments, French news agency Agence France Presse quoted the Cambodian Defence Ministry as saying that Cambodia deployed riot police Thursday at an ancient temple on the disputed border with Thailand where Thai protesters are due to hold a protest at the weekend.
Cambodian defence ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat was quoted saying that 50 police with dogs, batons, and tear gas were deployed at Preah Vihear temple in case the Thai protesters illegally crossed the border to cause problems. (TNA)