A 12-year-old boy was killed when a piece of an 80-mm mortar shell he was playing with exploded on Saturday in Battambang province, police said on Sunday.
Theang Dear left his school in Bavel district’s Ampil Pram Doeum commune at about 10 a.m. to pick fruit on the edge of a rice field with his sister and a few friends, said deputy commune police chief Chheun Chhum. The group found the fuse of an old 80-mm mortar shell near a tree, and the boy picked it up, he said.
“The sister of the victim told him not to play with it and took it away from him, but when she went to pick fruit…the victim picked up the shell and started smashing it on the ground near the tree, causing an explosion,” he said.
Mr. Chhum said that shrapnel hit Theang Dear in the left temple and left hand, and that he died at the scene.
Villagers had found the piece of unexploded ordnance about a month ago, but they moved it to the edge of the field instead of alerting officials, according to commune clerk Eng Heng.