Monday, June 27, 2011

Border villagers living in fear

Monday, 27 June 2011

Published: 27/06/2011
Bangkok Post

Villagers along the Thai-Cambodian border in Surin's Phanom Dong Rak district are afraid the fighting may resume following Thailand's withdrawal from the World Heritage Convention, a military source said on Monday.

The source said they had packed clothes, food and other necessities in preparation to evacuate to a safe location at short notice if Thai and Cambodian troops clash again.

Although there has been no fighting for nearly two months, Thai soldiers are on watch for possible intrusions by Cambodian forces.

Khomphet Sirisuk, a villager of Nong Khanna Samakkhi in tambon Ta Miang of Surin's Phanom Dong Rak district, said the recent clashes had severely affected people's lives.

They could not work long in their rice fields or plantations because they had been advised by soldiers to stay in their homes until at least 8am and return before 4pm.

Food and retail outlets had lost business because the Ta Muen Thom temple was still closed to tourists. Street lights were turned off at night and villagers were left in silence but sleepless, he said.

Mr Khomphet said he wanted the government to quickly end the conflict with neighbouring Cambodia.

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