Four Children Injured by UXO Blast Near School

Four children were injured, two of them seriously, after playing with unexploded ordnance (UXO) near their school in Siem Reap province’s Chi Kreng district on Tuesday, police said Thursday.

District police chief Toch Sakol said that the four children discovered a Chinese-made bomb hidden within a tree outside their school, which was a government military barracks during the civil war against the Khmer Rouge in the 1980s, in Pongro Krom commune.

“In Chi Kreng district, it is rare for UXOs to explode, but this time it occurred because the young boys did not know what it was,” he said.

Mr. Sokal said the four boys—Da Vuth, 10; Chea Chet, 13; Heng Shanghai, 12; and Hun Roeun, 12—were trying to clean rust off the unexploded bomb by hitting it with a stick so they could sell it as scrap metal.

“It is the first time that four school children got injured by hitting a UXO to sell it as scrap metal,” he said, adding that the children were on break from classes and playing near the school grounds.

Mr. Sokal said the boys were taken to Angkor Hospital for Children in Sotr Nikum district Thursday after being treated at a local health center on Tuesday.

Dr. Orng Samol, who cared for the children at the Angkor Hospital, said that Da Vuth and Hun Roeun received treatment and were sent home.

But Chea Chet and Heng Shanghai suffered much more serious injuries to their arms and legs.

“I had to clamp an artery in one of their arms,” he said. “There was massive bleeding. The wound was very bad.”

Dr. Samol said that after stabilizing the boys, and providing them with painkillers, they were transferred to Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap City, where they were still recovering.

“Their condition was OK yesterday when we transferred them using one of our ambulances,” he said.

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