Six children were injured near a former military base in Dangkao district Tuesday when a bomb they were playing with exploded, local police said.
The children were tending cows in a rice field in Ang village, Dangkao district when they found the bomb, said Mom Saveth, Dangkao district police chief. The bomb exploded after the children hit it with an ax, Mom Saveth said.
Leng Sina, 10, and Chhorn Chariya, 14, were seriously injured when the bomb exploded. The other four children—ages 6 to 14—were only slightly injured, he said.
The families of the children brought them to a local hospital in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district after the incident, where they are receiving medical attention.
Injuries from land mines and unexploded ordnance are rare in Phnom Penh, according to the July monthly mine report from the Cambodian Mine/UXO Victim Information System. Since January 2000, only nine people have been wounded or killed by land mines or unexploded ordnance. By comparison, 114 people have been hurt or killed by land mines or UXOs in Battambang, the province with the highest number of land mine incidents.
CMAC has two demining platoons that cover the Phnom Penh, Kompong Speu, Takeo and Kandal areas, according to Khem Sophoan, general director at the Cambodian Mine Action Center. He said that most of CMAC’s demining platoons are deployed in Battambang, Pailin and Banteay Meanchey—the three provinces with the most land mine incidents.
When asked if more demining platoons would be deployed in Phnom Penh or the surrounding areas after the Dangkao incident, he said: “If we receive more reports, then we will send out more deminers. We only work in areas where the local authorities ask us to go.” (Additional reporting by David Kihara)