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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid