Three Injured in Separate Land Mine Explosions

Three men were injured by buried land mines in three separate incidents earlier this week near the Thai-Cambodian border, which remains littered with ordnance from the Khmer Rouge regime and the civil war that followed.

Border police officer Yorng Mech, 51, was at the front of a seven-man team patrolling the Thai-Cambodian border in Pursat province on Tuesday when he stepped on an anti-personnel land mine and sustained an injury to his right leg, said deputy provincial police chief Kouy Saroeun.

Mr. Saroeun said the patrol was traveling on a well-worn path but added that recent rains had made the ground soft. Because the provincial hospital was far away, Mr. Mech was taken by Thai soldiers to a hospital in Thailand, where his injured leg was amputated below the knee.

“This area used to be a battlefield, so there are a lot of UXO [unexploded ordnance] and land mines left over,” said Pich Sorphon, Thma Da commune police chief. “If you are lucky, you will not meet one. If you are not lucky, you will meet one.”

In Banteay Meanchey province on Monday, Chhuon Khloy, 27, stepped on an old anti-personnel land mine while foraging for bamboo shoots for food along a stream near the Thai-Cambodian border, according to Banteay Chhmar commune police chief Pech Vantha.

He said Mr. Khloy had injured his right leg and sent to a hospital across the border in Thailand for treatment.

“Because it was near the stream and near the border, the area was not cleared yet and we tell people not to go there,” Mr. Vantha said. “Some people listen to us, but some do not. They still go into the prohibited area regularly because they have a hard life and little food.”

In a separate case on Monday in Banteay Meanchey, a farmer, Chham Sotheara, was using an excavator to plow land when it hit an anti-tank mine, said Chey Sokha, Svay Chek district military police commander.

He said Mr. Sotheara had injured one hand and sent to the provincial hospital for treatment.

Old land mines and UXO have killed or injured 71 people during the first four months of this year, according to the government’s latest figures, 27 more than in the same period of 2013.

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