Three people, including two children, were killed in an explosion in Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district on Tuesday, after the weight from their buffalo-drawn carts triggered two anti-tank mines, according to district police chief Keo Tann.
Ael Bol, 45, his daughter, Bul Sreymom, 12, and his nephew, Teng Blay, 13, were killed in the blast, which occurred in a forest near O’Svay commune’s Tumnob Apiwat village, said Mr. Tann, adding that the victims had been cutting down wood to build a home.
Tumnob Apiwat villagers are well aware of the zone’s landmine hazards, deputy police chief In Ben said. “But these victims were uninformed because they were from a different province,” he said.
Heng Ratana, general director of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, said heavy rain could be to blame for the accident as anti-tank mines are buried deep in the earth and pressure on soft, damp soil makes them easier to trigger.
Despite Tuesday’s incident, the number of deaths and injuries from mines and other explosive remnants of war is down on last year, according to the latest government data.
Through June 7 this year, mines and explosive remnants of war have killed or injured 65 people in comparison to last year’s 104 casualties during the same period, according to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority.
“People are better understanding the level of risk on the ground; they’re more careful with their activities, more careful when they travel,” Mr. Ratana said.
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