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Three Cambodian soldiers die after eating poisonous mushrooms

world Updated: Aug 03, 2009 10:11 IST

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Three Cambodian soldiers died and one was left seriously ill after the group ate poisonous mushrooms picked near an 11th-century temple at the centre of an ongoing border dispute with neighboring Thailand, national media reported on Monday.

Military officials said the men were hospitalised July 24, hours after eating the unknown type of mushrooms in a soup while stationed several kilometres from the Preah Vihear temple, The Cambodia Daily newspaper reported.

One man died July 27, another died Tuesday and a third died Thursday, said Mas Yoeun, the army's deputy commander in Preah Vihear.

The fourth man remained hospitalised in the northern city of Siem Reap, he said.

"They did not receive enough treatment or the district clinic was careless with them, and I think that they kept them for three days without giving them the medicine and they became seriously ill," Mas Yoeun said.

He said soldiers were last week instructed not to eat any more mushrooms collected in the area, which has been the site of two skirmishes between Cambodia and Thailand since July 2008, which killed two Cambodian and two Thai soldiers.

The clashes have strained relations between Thailand and Cambodia, both of which claim land surrounding the temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site that was granted to Cambodia in a 1962 International Court of Justice ruling.

The temple has been at the centre of disputed claims between Thailand and Cambodia since the 1950s.