Thousands of evacuees who fled the fighting along the Cambodia-Thailand border were heading home on May 2 as tensions over the disputed area eased.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the situation had improved enough for people to leave temporary camps.

“People started returning home after authorities analysed the situation and established that there is not likely to be any problem,” the Thai leader said.

Evacuation centres in northeastern Thailand on the border with Cambodia began closing down. The Surin provincial governor of Thailand said some 44,000 civilians from 35 evacuation centres have been allowed to leave for home.

In Cambodia , a senior official from the National Committee for Disaster
Management said many evacuees will return home soon.

The Cambodian Border Front Command accused Thai troops of firing artillery and mortar rounds from the night of May 1 to May 2, adding that no injuries were reported. Thai military commanders said military from the two sides exchanged fire on the night of May 1, but denied the use of heavy guns.

The Cambodian Defence Ministry on May 2 released a communiqué welcoming negotiations at military commander level, aimed at building confidence to ensure the truce will work.

Clashes along the Cambodia-Thailand border since April 22 have killed 16 soldiers and one civilian from the two sides./.