Thai-Cambodia clashes spread east to Preah Vihear

Thai troops head towards the border on 26 April 2011
Image caption Troops from both sides have been killed during four days of border clashes

Fighting has erupted between soldiers from Cambodia and Thailand along their disputed mountainous border for a fifth consecutive day.

Spokesmen from both sides said skirmishes broke out near the Preah Vihear temple on Tuesday.

The violence follows four days of fighting around the temple of Ta Krabey, 160km (100 miles) to the west.

At least 12 soldiers have been killed in the latest outbreak of violence between the two neighbours.

Parts of the Thai-Cambodian border have never been formally demarcated, causing continuing tensions and firing nationalist sentiment in each country.

The 11th Century hill-top temple of Preah Vihear is a particular flashpoint.

An international court awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962 but both sides claim ownership of the surrounding area. At least 10 people were killed in clashes around the temple in February.

There was no information on whether the most recent exchange of fire at Preah Vihear had caused casualties.

"They fired artillery and mortar and we retaliated," said Thai army spokesman Colonel Prawit Hookaew. Cambodia blamed Thailand for starting the clash.

It comes after days of fighting around Ta Krabey and another temple, Ta Moan, which stand in jungle areas further to the west that both sides claim.

Some 36,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, and the UN has called for a ceasefire.

On Saturday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the border dispute could not be resolved by military means and both sides needed to engage in "serious dialogue".

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