A soldier in Battambang province has been charged and placed in provisional detention after a homemade bomb he devised to catch an intruder exploded in front of his home, blowing off his granddaughter’s leg and injuring his daughter, officials said Thursday.
Before leaving with family members to tend to his farmland in Samlot district’s Samlot commune on Monday morning, Yi Thy, 47, buried the bomb at the foot of the stairs leading to the front door of his timber shack, according to Men Rim, a deputy district police chief.
The soldier’s intent was to maim someone who he believed had poisoned his water jar 15 days earlier, Mr. Rim said, but his daughter and granddaughter returned from the field early and unknowingly detonated the explosive. He was arrested the same day, he said.
“His granddaughter, 4, was seriously injured—she lost her right leg when she stepped on the bomb —and his daughter, 4, received minor injuries,” Mr. Rim said, adding that shrapnel from the bomb had lodged in the daughter’s torso as she made her way up the stairs ahead of the granddaughter.
“He confessed to taking [gunpowder from] 30 firecrackers to improvise the bomb and put it under the stairs because he suspected that someone had poisoned his water jar in order to kill him,” he said.
The deputy police chief said Mr. Thy had become suspicious someone was trying to murder him about two weeks ago when a fish died after he put it into a water jar, to keep the fish fresh.
Deputy provincial police chief Chet Vanny said the Battambang Provincial Court charged Mr. Thy with illegally making explosives and sent him to prison to await trial. Nuon San, chief prosecutor at the court, could not be reached.
District governor In Soarith said the victims were in stable condition Thursday following treatment at the provincial referral hospital. He also condemned the actions of Mr. Thy, who he said was a messenger for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in the district.
“It is illegal to set up a bomb, even if his intention was to protect his house,” he said.