A police officer was killed and another injured on Wednesday night when an old rocket from a 60-mm rocket launcher exploded while they were on patrol along Oddar Meanchey province’s border with Thailand, according to local officials.
Banteay Ampil district governor Hang Meng said the explosion occurred at about 7 p.m. near the village of Thmor Doun in Kokmon commune.
“One man died and another was badly injured by a UXO [unexploded ordnance] explosion last night,” he said. “But I am not sure about the details yet.”
Neither Mr. Meng nor any other officials contacted Thursday knew the names of the victims.
Commune chief Uon Ly said they were officers with the district’s border police Unit 702.
Mr. Ly said he did not know how far from the Thai border the men had been when the rocket exploded, but that they were about 20 meters from the “white zone,” a buffer area along the border where no activity is allowed.
“We tell our villagers not to go near the border because we are concerned about mines and UXO. But about this case, I am not sure if the UXO was placed there recently or if it had been there since the civil war,” he said.
Mr. Ly said the dead man’s body was sent to his relatives and that the injured man, who had been hit by shrapnel in many places on his body, had been sent to the provincial referral hospital for treatment.
The Unit 702 chief, district police chief and the provincial manager for the Cambodian Mine Action Center, the government’s demining arm, all said they did not know about the accident.
Cambodia’s border with Thailand was heavily mined by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s and during the civil war that followed, and many casualties from old mines still occur there. Of the 154 people killed or injured by mines and UXO last year, 13 were in Oddar Meanchey.