Meet The Former Child Soldier Who Dug Up Fifty-Thousand Landmines In Cambodia

The dangers of war do not end once it is over. Bombs and mines were still left hiding on the ground of once was a warzone. In Cambodia, the Cambodian–Vietnamese War and the dictatorship of Pol Pot in the 1980s and 1990s both resulted in milllions of landmines still scattered and unseen in Cambodia, waiting for their victims. That was why Aki Ra, a former child soldier, took it upon himself and devoted his life to digging up and removing Cambodia’s landmines.

According to World Nomads, 5 million mines still remain in the country, and around 15 Cambodians fall victim to these mines each month. On the other hand, the Halo Trust reported that “Over 64,000 casualties and more than 25,000 amputees have been recorded since 1979.”

The Cambodian government has been trying to clear the mines and get rid of all of them by 2025. As per VOA News, “The Cambodian government will deploy 2,000 soldiers to train as deminers after Western nations, led by the United States, bolstered efforts to rid the country of landmines and other unexploded ordnance by 2025.” Aside from deminers, they also experimented on training large African pouched rats(which are freakishly large in size) that could help detect the scent of chemicals used in explosives and point them out to their handlers. Magawa, a mine-sniffing rat, was able to sniff out over 100 landmines and other explosives in Cambodia in his five-year career before he died.

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