News / Asia

Villagers Suffering From Thai-Cambodia Border Fighting, Urge Peace

Border clashes have left thousands of villagers homeless from Thai-Cambodia border area
Border clashes have left thousands of villagers homeless from Thai-Cambodia border area

Multimedia

Daniel Schearf

Border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia have stopped for now and their political leaders are set to hold talks Monday at the United Nations. The fighting near a disputed border area was the worst in years, killing several on both sides and sending thousands fleeing for safety. Villagers have yet to return home and many in Thailand urge the government to resolve the dispute so life can return to normal.

Thousands of villagers fled the Thai-Cambodia border after their militaries exchanged artillery and machine gun fire a week ago.

Many Cambodian villagers took refuge in Siem Reap, while Thais moved to camps several kilometers away from the border.

Sodsri Phahom returned to her home in Phum Srol district briefly, for her husband's funeral.  

She says when the shells hit she and her niece ran for the trees while her husband took cover in a ditch. He was decapitated by shrapnel.

Now she has to care for the farm and their five children on her own.  

She says they are in deep trouble because they are poor.  She says since her husband died they have no money left.

She blames the Thai government for not being able to keep peace with Cambodia.

A week after fighting broke out, villages along the border remain empty and schools closed. Many houses here were damaged or destroyed.

Workers at Phum Srol Wittaya School sweep up outside a one-story building.

The classroom walls and ceilings are blown out and the children’s desks are covered with debris.

The main school building next to it has a massive hole in the roof. Fortunately, the children were not in the buildings and nobody was injured.

School Director Pramoon Sawangpon says classes are scheduled to resume Monday though he is not comfortable with the idea.

He says personally, right now, he cannot conclude whether to stop or continue classes because they are still waiting. He says he is not sure that it will be safe because fighting can happen any time.

The clashes erupted near disputed territory surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu Khmer temple known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Phra Viharn in Thailand.

Both sides blame the other for starting the fighting.

Slideshow of Refugees


Armed volunteers helped evacuate 3,000 people and remain behind to guard homes.

Defense leader Boonkerd Tae Tong says they have always had good relations with Cambodians, who he calls part of their community.

He blames politics for the dispute - particularly because two rival Thai groups, known as the red shirts and the yellow shirts, have used the border issue to gain support.

He says it probably started in 2008 when yellow and red shirt groups came here. He says since then, along the border, they are never happy with either trade or livelihoods. He says they have border tensions continuously.

Civilians and journalists are not allowed to enter the temple area and the border remains tense with militaries on both sides preparing for any further confrontation.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More