PRASAT, Thailand - Thai and Cambodian troops broke a brief cease-fire and clashed for an eighth day Friday, shattering hopes of a quick end to a long-running border conflict that has forced nearly 100,000 villagers to flee. The death toll rose to 16.Fighting erupted in the morning and again briefly Friday night, both countries' troops said as displaced residents on each side waited to see if the worst skirmishes in years between the Southeast Asian neighbours might finally end.
"I wish both sides could talk, so that there is no more fighting," said Boonteung Somsed, a 58-year-old Thai construction worker who fled to the village of Prasat, about 20 miles (30 kilometres) from the border.
"Every time a soldier picks up a weapon," he said, "a village has to run away from home."
Thailand and Cambodia have clashed six times since 2008 over the border, where several crumbling Hindu temples built nearly 1,000 years ago during the Khmer Empire sit atop cliffs and in jungles mined in wars past. The land has been disputed for more than half a century, but analysts say domestic politics on both sides is driving the conflict as much as any real disagreement between the countries.
Field commanders agreed to the brief truce Thursday in a meeting at the disputed border. But Cambodian Col. Suos Sothea said the Thai army again fired artillery shells into Cambodia early Friday and small arms fire crackled anew around the Ta Krabey temple, which is in a disputed area.
"We cannot trust the Thais," he said. "Yesterday they said they'd stop fighting and now they are attacking us again."
Thai army spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said there had been light clashes late Thursday as well as early Friday. He blamed Cambodia for breaking the deal, saying its "local units might not agree to the talks as easily as their commanders did."
Sansern told reporters in Bangkok that the Thai army sent a
Published: April 29, 2011 11:03 a.m.