One Killed, Two Injured by Anti-Tank Mine

One man died and two others were injured in Battambang province on Monday when the rice harvester they were operating detonated an anti-tank land mine, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Khim Seiha, 32, had been riding the harvester across his field in Bavel district’s Ampil Pram Doeum commune with two farmhands and drove over the buried mine while heading to a storage facility, said deputy district police chief Thong Sarin.

“All three victims were seriously injured and were sent to the World Mate Emergency Hospital…but Khim Seiha died once he arrived,” he said.

Mr. Sarin identified the other two men as Duol Nuon, 32, and Vey Saruom, 27, and said he did not know their present condition or the extent of their injuries.

The NGO-run hospital could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Sarin said the mine was likely planted by the Khmer Rouge in the 1980s, after they were toppled from power but continued to wage a guerrilla war from their bases in the northwest.

District governor Tim Dareth said the area had been cleared by the Cambodian Mine Action Committee (CMAC), the government’s demining arm, in the mid-1990s, but added that the technology available at the time was less sophisticated than it is now.

“I will ask CMAC to search where we suspect there are still mines,” he said.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said he had not yet been informed of Monday’s explosion. Like the governor, he said the equipment the committee used in the past could not penetrate the earth to the depths at which many anti-tank mines were buried, often a meter deep or more.

“Now we have equipment that can scan where the mines are, but in the past we were only able to find mines that were buried 3 cm or 4 cm into the ground,” he said.

According to the government’s latest figures, 15 people were killed and 70 injured by land mines or other unexploded ordnance during the first nine months of the year. In 2014, 154 people were killed or injured by mines and old ordnance.

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