01 July, 2015
Cambodian and Vietnamese social media have been reporting on a clash along the border between the two countries. The fighting happened Sunday. Hundreds of Cambodians and Vietnamese were involved. At least 10 people were reported injured.
The fighting started after a group of Cambodians attempted to visit a disputed land marker in Svay Rieng province, at the border with Vietnam. Cambodian opposition lawmaker Real Camerin led the group.
A Vietnamese-Cambodian monk named Thach Ny was in the area at the time of the clash. The religious worker told VOA hundreds of people were stopped by Vietnamese border guards and civilians.
"Their border guards carried weapons and their people held wooden sticks," he said. "They crossed into Cambodian territory and hit us."
Hoa Binh Tay is near Svay Rieng. Phan Van On is the chairman of the Hoa Binh Tay commune. He rejected the monk's claim. He said the Cambodians incited his force. He said the force was attacked first.
"We deployed border guards to stop the Cambodians," he said. "They pushed this force into Vietnamese territory, and used metal flag poles to beat us."
Videos and pictures on Vietnamese and Cambodian social media showed the two sides watching each other in a tense atmosphere. They also showed clashes between smaller groups from each side.
Phan Van On said this was the first battle in years along the border.
Um Sam An is a lawmaker with the Cambodian National Rescue Party. He was with the border group last Sunday. He told VOA that negotiations between the two countries have not solved the border problems. He said the group has asked the government to complain about the incident to the International Court of Justice.
Tuesday, an official at Vietnam's Foreign Ministry urged the Cambodian government to solve the issue. He also urged the government not to permit the incident to be repeated.
Tensions increased after Cambodia accused Vietnam of illegally digging eight ponds inside Cambodian territory and of building a military position in a disputed area.
In his statement, the Vietnamese foreign ministry official did not answer those accusations. Cambodian officials have refused to comment on the clash.
I'm Jim Tedder.
VOA's Colin Nguyen and Sok Khemara reported this story. George Grow adapted it for Learning English. Christopher Jones-Cruise was the editor.
Words in This Story
monk – n. a religious worker
commune – n. an organized group of people who live together and share responsibilities; the smallest division of a local government
pole(s) – n. a stick
pond – n. a small lake
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