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Cambodia rejects Thailand’s accusation of landmine plantation at border areas

PHNOM PENH, March 8 (Xinhua) — Cambodian Ministry of Defense has issued a statement to dismiss Thailand’s allegation that the country has planted landmines at border areas, saying that the accusation is”false and groundless”.

“The allegation of Thai army deputy spokesman Winthai Suwaree on Cambodia is groundless and false and it could cause confusion and affect the cooperative efforts of the two governments and armies in maintaining peace along the Cambodian-Thai border,” said the statement of the spokesman of Cambodian Ministry of Defense issued Thursday night.

The dismissal was made after the Bangkok Post online reported that the Thai army on Thursday sent a letter of protest to Cambodia over a landmine explosion that seriously injured three Thai rangers in Thailand’s in Surin province Tuesday. “We believe the landmine was recently planted. It was not a leftover mine,” the Bangkok Post quoted Thai Army Deputy Spokesman Winthai Suwaree as saying Thursday. “This is an automatic procedure for such an incident, to write a protest letter and notify Cambodia.”

An inspection of the area after the explosion revealed another 11 Vietnamese TMN1 landmines, which are commonly used by the Cambodian military, the newspaper said, citing an unnamed Thai army source. “The spokesman of Cambodian Ministry of Defense announces to reject and condemn the Thai army deputy spokesman’s groundless allegation that Cambodia used TMN1 landmines made in Vietnam,” the statement said. “This type of TMN1 landmines has never seen using in Cambodian history. Even in the recorded documents of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, no type of TMN1 landmines is present or used by Cambodia,” it said.

The statement added that the Royal Cambodian Armed Force reasserted that Cambodia is a state party to the Ottawa landmine ban treaty, and the country has not only fully complied with the treaty, but also campaigned against this type of landmines.

The three wounded Thai men were part of a 16-member ranger patrol near Ta Krobey Temple in Dongrek Mountain. The explosion on Tuesday blew off one man’s right foot, and the two others sustained shrapnel wounds.

 

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