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Opposition Delegation Clash With Vietnamese Border Security

A group of villagers clashed with Vietnamese border security on Sunday, after they accused the neighboring country of encroachment. Opposition lawmakers say they want Cambodia to press their case against encroachment with the International Court of Justice, with increased accusations of Vietnamese construction on the Cambodian side of the border.

Sunday’s violence came when a delegation led by lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party tried to investigate a paved road in Svay Rieng province, near the border, but were blocked by Vietnamese border security. More than 10 people were injured in the ensuing scuffle.

“We’ve asked the government to file a complaint to the International Court of Justice,” Um Sam An, a Rescue Party lawmaker who led the border delegation, told “Hello VOA” on Monday. Bilateral negotiations have not solved the border problems, he said.

Vietnam has built a military outpost in Kandal province and has built a pond in Ratanakkir province, despite Cambodia’s protests, he said.

His delegation was prevented from investigating sites in Svay Rieng where encroachment has been reported. “When we pushed our way forward, there was a confrontation, pushing us back to the water, a small pond, and then there was fighting. They hit our delegation, causing more than 10 head injuries in total.” One of the injured was Real Camerin, a Rescue Party lawmaker for Svay Rieng.

Cambodian security forces refused to support the delegation, he said. “They didn’t show us the way, they didn’t guide us, and they didn’t protect our safety,” he said. The Vietnamese border forces were armed, he said.

The Rescue Party is asking Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to summon the Vietnamese ambassador to Cambodia to rebuke over the attack, he said. He would also like the way cleared so that another delegation can investigate the alleged encroachment. And he would like the government to seek resolution for the problem with the international court, as it did with Thailand.

National police spokesman Keat Chantharith declined to comment on the clash.