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No Injuries Reported in Brief Border Clash

Cambodian and Thai troops engaged in a brief exchange of gunfire on Tuesday, but neither side reported injuries.

The clash, which began just before 10 am in the Dangrek Mountains of Oddar Meanchey province, lasted only five minutes, said Chhum Socheat, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, who blamed the exchange on a “misunderstanding.”

“The soldiers of Trapaing Prasath district were patrolling, and they met accidentally with Thai soldiers who were on patrol as well,” he said. “Both sides opened fire.”

Chhum Socheat said the Thai soldiers likely thought they were firing on illegal loggers, not soldiers. Commanders on both sides were already discussing the issue, he said.

Cambodia and Thailand have both amassed troops along the northern border, following the inception of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site under Cambodian control. Both sides lay claim to land near the temple, fueling a standoff that has gone on since July 2008. Sporadic clashes have left a handful of killed soldiers on each side. The latest clash took place in O’smach district in April, though no one was hurt.

A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday the Thais had not yet verified reports of the engagement.