Grenade Attack in Kompong Cham Kills Five, Injures 25

A grenade attack at a village dance in Kompong Cham pro­vince on Thursday killed five people, most of them teenagers, and wounded 25 others, police said.

The victims were killed instantly, authorities said. Five others, who were seriously wounded, were sent to Kompong Cham town hospital, while another 20 people with minor injuries were sent to Memot district hospital.

Police have blamed the attack on a personal dispute.

Police are investigating reports of a business quarrel between the owners of the music equipment used at the dance, authorities said. So far police have been unable to make an arrest, said Bun Bann, the penalty bureau chief for Kompong Cham province. The investigation has been hampered by the village’s remote location, he said.

Srei Saom village, in Memot district, where the attack took place, is 100 km east of Kompong Cham town. Travel to the area is limited to ox or horse cart this time of year due to flooding, Bun Bann said.

The villagers had been celebrating the full moon, an annual custom in the region that takes place around the time of the Water Festival. The attack coincided with the third day of the Water Festival.

Although four years of peace have largely removed the threat of war from the countryside, a deadly arsenal of weapons left behind by soldiers is still available to the general population, experts say. Grenades, sold at markets for as little as $3, are commonly used to settle personal disputes.

A similar attack in Phnom Penh last March killed an innocent by­stander, Jeun Sokha, 23. The trial of the man charged with killing Sokha is pending.

The prevalence of grenades in Cambodia has led to tragic accidents as well as deliberate attacks. In April, four children died in Kom­pong Cham province when the grenade they were playing with exploded.

Massive casualties from gre­nades are common, whether from an attack or an ac­ci­dent, experts say.

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