Fourteen Killed in Anti-Tank Landmine Blast

Fourteen villagers—including 13 members of the same family—were killed Sunday evening in Oddar Meanchey province when the truck they were traveling in triggered an anti-tank landmine on a rural road, military police said.

Puth Sarann, deputy provincial military police chief, said the area was formerly planted with landmines by the Khmer Rouge.

“It was a tragedy,” he said.

“During the war, few members of this family were killed. [Now] nearly the whole family was killed, except those who stayed home…. That leaves an old grandmother and two small kids,” he said.

Puth Sarann said the family were on their way back home after harvesting rice with neighbors.

The truck was traveling on a well-used dirt road in O’Romduol village in Trapaing Prasat district.

“Previously their truck missed [the landmine],” he said, adding that the Cambodian Mine Action Center demined in the district, but in “prioritized places only.”

Khem Sophoan, director general of CMAC, said the area was not yet cleared, and that the center’s demining units had been planning to clear the area in 2006.

Richard Boulter, director of the demining NGO Halo Trust, said that during the dry season, mo­torists tend to travel consistently on the grooves worn in dirt roads.

But in the wet season, potholes get larger and people “tend to drive further and further from the center line,” he said. “The rain will have soft­ened up the soil…[and] the vehicle may have had additional loading over what has gone over it be­fore.”

Puth Sarann said the district au­thority and his unit provided some food and money to bereaved relatives, but that the supplies were not enough. “I would like to appeal to generous people to help them in a humanitarian manner,” he said.

Also on Sunday, two women in Battambang province’s Samlot district were seriously injured when a truck they were traveling in ran over an anti-tank landmine in Mean­chey commune, police said.

 

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