Two Killed in Mine, Mortar Shell Blasts in Battambang, Pailin

A man and a teenage boy were killed by an anti-tank mine and a mortar shell in separate incidents on Friday and Saturday, according to police.

In Battambang province, Chea Toum, 37, was seriously injured when the tractor he was walking behind set off a buried anti-tank mine. He died of his wounds while being transported to the hospital, said San Phal, Phlov Meas commune police chief.

He said the driver of the tractor was also badly injured by the explosion and was sent to the provincial hospital for treatment.

Though there were no signs in the area warning of mines, Mr. Phal said locals had been warned repeatedly to stay away.

“The incident happened in a banned place because it is full of mines left over from the civil war. It is a place villagers are not allowed to enter,” he said.

In a separate incident on Saturday in Pailin province, a 12-year-old boy, Proum Pov, was playing with a mortar shell he found while tending his family’s cow. He accidentally set off the explosive and died instantly, said Stung Trang commune police chief Ry Dara.

He said two other boys sitting nearby, aged 12 and 17, were also injured by the explosion, which occurred about 100 meters behind the local primary school. They were sent to the provincial hospital for treatment.

“We don’t know where the mortar shell was taken from because we can’t ask the two injured boys, who are still scared from the incident, so we will ask them when they come back from the hospital,” Mr. Dara said.

A total of 31 people were killed or injured in such explosions during the first two months of the year, up from the 22 cases recorded during the first two months of 2013, according to the latest figures from the Cambodian Mine Action Center.

Despite the rise in cases so far this year, deaths and injures were significantly down in 2013 compared to the year before.

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