Three young boys and a girl were seriously injured in an explosion on Wednesday while playing catch with a mine in Battambang province’s Phnom Proek district, officials said.
Mas Not, 11, and his sister Mas Nak, 12, were throwing the mine with brothers Hong Siev Kao, 3, and Hong Ravy, 10, when it exploded, said deputy district police chief Sareth Viseth.
“They picked the mine up from the forest about 300 meters from their house and brought it home to play,” Mr Viseth said, noting that their parents were working in a rice field at the time. The Chakrei commune chief reported the explosion to the police, and the parents took their children to Sampov Loun district hospital for treatment, he added.
Cambodia Mine Action Center has put up warning signs but has not cleared the heavily mined district, where three people have been killed by UXO in recent months, he said.
Pring Panharith, De-miner Unit 2 manager at CMAC, said the district had not yet been cleared because they were focusing on more dangerous parts of the province. “We have to go to other areas in Ratanak Mondol district,” he said, noting that there had been 62 casualties caused by 20 landmines and other explosive remnants of war in the province this year.
The number of injuries and deaths caused by explosions increased this year compared to 2010, said Khem Sophoan, chairman of the CMAC governing council. From January to October there were 234 victims, including 141 injuries and 53 deaths, compared to 207 victims last year, he said.
The explosions happened even though CMAC gave warnings, he said.
“The victims acted dangerously because they did not follow what our officials taught them.”