Second army chief protests at landmines

The Suranaree Taskforce has protested to Cambodia for allegedly planting new landmines along the shared border at Surin.

Mine clearance officials use detectors to search for buried landmines. (File Photo by Rarintorn Phetcharoen)

The move came after three Thai rangers stepped on landmines along the border on Tuesday.

Two days after Thai troops were wounded by an apparently new landmine along the Surin province border, The Cambodian Ministry of Defence on Friday called reports that it planted landmines at the Surin border “false and groundless”.

“This type of TMN1 landmine has been used in Cambodian history,” said the statement.

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha was equally forceful on Friday as denying the mines were planted by Thai forces.

“We will check who planted the landmines there, but we did not put them there,” said Gen Prayuth. “Someone else did.

“I ask soldiers along the border to exercise caution and I feel for them because being a soldier means you have to risk your life.”

The taskforce, which is under the 2nd Army Region, sent a protest note to Cambodia via the Thai Border Committee, Lt Gen Jeerasak Chomprasob, the 2nd Army Region commander, said Thursday.

He said Thai authorities believe the landmines found along the border were newly planted and may have been put there by Cambodian forces.

Lt Gen Jeerasak said he wanted the Cambodian side to clarify the matter.

Thailand and Cambodia have signed the Ottawa Treaty, which bans signatories from using and stockpiling landmines. Cambodia was both a severe victim of mining, and one of the leading nations pushing for the treaty.

The three rangers – Niran Sutham, 28, Sorawut Pra-ngarm, 26, and Sakda Prachaklang, 27 – were injured after stepping on the landmines near a military outpost at boundary marker No.21 in Surin’s Phanom Dong Rak district.

The incident happened about 3.30pm on Tuesday.

Ranger Niran’s right leg was blown off. All of the rangers were taken to the military hospital at the Weerawat Yothin army camp in Muang district of Surin, but Niran was later transferred to Surin Hospital.

The three rangers are now recovering.

Ranger Niran said his 15-member team was patrolling the area when he and the two others stepped on three landmines. One of them exploded. A total of 11 landmines were found planted in the area and all were later defused.

Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat yesterday reiterated that the landmines found at the location did not belong to Thailand.

The mines were found planted about one metre across the border into Thai territory, he said.

ACM Sukumpol said Lt Gen Worawit Darunchu, the commander of the Border Affairs Department, was also preparing a letter to ask Cambodia about the matter.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/339350/second-army-chief-protests-at-landmines

Pin It on Pinterest