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Thais Bolster Banteay Meanchey Presence

Thailand has increased its troop and ammunition supplies along the border of Banteay Meanchey province over the past few days, following a small skirmish and the injury by landmine of two Thai troops in the past week, military and government officials said.

Bantheay Meanchey Governor Oung Ouen said Thursday the Thai side was increasing troop deployments along 150 kilometers of his border, west of Preah Vihear temple, the initial site of a military standoff that began July 15.

Many encampments of around 20 soldiers along the border had been bolstered by five to ten soldiers more since Tuesday, he said.

The increase came following a the first fracas between opposing soldiers, at Phnom Trop near Preah Vihear temple on Friday, and the injury of two Thai soldiers on the same mountain on Monday, he said.

However, he said, there was no apparent tension between the two sides.

Col. Ven Say, deputy commander of Regiment 51, said the Thais had sent 50 boxes of ammunition to soldiers along the border of Bantheay Meanchey.

The increase of troops and ammunition were not a cause for concern, he said, but Cambodian soldiers were vigilant “24 hours” a day in the area.

Meanwhile, Cambodian soldiers at Preah Vihear have begun confiscating cell phone SIM cards from a Thai network used by many people living and working along the border.

Hang Soth, chairman of the Preah Vihear National Authority, said Thursday the SIM cards had been collected since Wednesday in an effort to improve security for Cambodian soldiers deployed nearby.