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Cambodia recruiting militias on border with Thailand
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14:10, October 23, 2008

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Cambodian provincial and military officials said they are recruiting militias along the border with Thailand to protect frontier villages if hostilities erupt again amid a territory dispute between the two countries, national media reported Thursday.

Some 2,400 Cambodians have already volunteered to serve in the paramilitary units in Oddar Meanchey province alone, Deputy Governor Loun An was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying.

"We are in the process of recruiting people for militias to protect homes and ensure security for people if there is a war with Thai soldiers," Loun An said.

"Militia members receive no salary and do not register with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), although they will get some sponsorship money," he added.

The Cambodian government has called for calm following last week's border clash that has resulted in the deaths of three Cambodian soldiers and a Thai trooper.

The violence has only encouraged more Cambodians to come to their nation's defense, Chuong Praseuth of the Banteay Meanchey provincial administration told the Post.

In July, tensions ran high after the ancient Preah Vihear Temple was awarded world heritage status by UNESCO, angering nationalists in Thailand who still claim ownership of the site.

The tension later turned into a military stalemate, in which up to 1,000 Cambodian and Thai troops faced off for six weeks.

In early October, at least one Cambodian soldier and two Thai troops were wounded during sporadic exchange of gunfire and two other Thai soldiers were seriously injured after stepping on a landmine at the border area, the report said.

Source:Xinhua



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