A grenade explosion in a residential area of Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district on Tuesday night injured three people and rattled the city, leaving officials searching for a motive.
Pools of blood and an inch-deep hole could be seen on the road about 30 minutes after the explosion occurred at about 7:40 p.m. on Street 163 in Boeng Keng Kang III commune. The windows of a pickup truck were blown out in the blast.
“I was in my house sewing when I heard a large ‘boom!’” said Pech Sothea, a 52-year-old tailor who lives in a house next to the site of the explosion.
“I was scared, so I stayed in the house. I saw one lady with blood coming out of her back,” she said, pointing toward the blood-stained road, where hundreds of onlookers had gathered around police cordons.
A video uploaded to Facebook showed a woman with what appeared to be minor injuries being lifted into an ambulance on a stretcher, while a photograph published by the online Fresh News service showed what appeared to be a grenade lever by a sidewalk curb.
A nurse at Calmette Hospital, who declined to be named because she was not authorized to speak with the media, identified the two victims being treated there as Nging Hiv, a 38-year-old man, and Chan Vanny, a 37-year-old woman.
“They sustained injuries on the surface of their skin all over their bodies. It appears that shrapnel blasted out,” the nurse said, adding that the injuries were “not serious.”
Sourn Samith, chief of the emergency unit at the Khmer Soviet Hospital, named an Indian man being treated there as Dharmendra Singh Kshetrimayum, 32.
“We received one Indian national and we are preparing to scan him and follow up on his condition,” Mr. Samith said. “It seems like it’s not too serious, just injuries to the wrist.”
Neither police at the scene nor others contacted by telephone offered any information on possible suspects or motives.
Kim Ratana, a police officer from Boeng Trabek commune who was called to the scene, said he had “concluded it was a grenade,” but declined to comment further.
Eng Hy, spokesman for the National Military Police, said his officials were investigating the scene, but that the reason for the blast remained unclear.
Eng Sophea, chief of the municipal police’s serious crimes bureau, declined to comment while investigations were underway.
Asked of possible motives, he replied: “How would I know this unless I am the grenade attacker?”
(Additional reporting by Ben Sokhean)