Civil War-Era Mortar Shell Explodes, Injures 8

Eight people were injured when a mortar shell exploded in Pursat province on Tuesday after a 5-year-old boy found the civil war-era weapon and brought it home to play with, according to local police.

Provincial police chief Sarun Chanthy said the boy found the shell in a rice field while tending his family’s cows in Veal Veng district and took it home not knowing what it was.

He said the eight victims were being treated at the district referral hospital, including the boy, who was expected to lose his left eye from the explosion.

“The boy found it in the rice field and took it to play with at his home, and the explosion injured four villagers, three boys and a girl, but none of the victims died,” Mr. Chanthy said.

District police chief Theng Leng said the victims ranged in age from 2 to 26 and included a woman who is six-months pregnant.

He said the shrapnel from the shell pierced the woman’s abdomen but did not know if the fetus had been injured.

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