Troops on both sides of the Cambodian-Thai border were on alert today after gunbattles near a disputed temple left at least two soldiers dead, a Cambodian official said.The mood was tense after the firefight on Friday, which was the biggest flare-up for months in a bitter feud over territory near the ancient temple."The situation at the border is quiet now and back to normal," a Cambodian commander named Yem Pem said, adding that troops were on "24-hour alert."
Soldiers exchanged rocket, machine gun and mortar fire yesterday, damaging the staircase of the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, following a brief skirmish earlier in the day, officials said.Cambodia's foreign ministry said a local government office was damaged, and hundreds of Cambodians, who lost their homes and local market in the fighting, were evacuated to a school 20 kilometres away."We were so frightened because the situation was so tense," said Chum Vanna, 27, who was evacuated with her husband and children."I'm very angry with the Thai soldiers. All of my belongings were completely burned.