Two people were killed and two seriously injured in separate explosions involving war-era rockets over the past week in Kompong Speu and Battambang provinces, police said on April 13.
Kun Ry, 13, died instantly when a B-40 rocket-propelled grenade detonated in thick jungle around 1 km from Ponnor village in Kompong Speu province’s Odong district on Wednesday, district police chief Ly Vantha said.
The girl’s mother, Vong Ran, 33, and her younger brother, Kun Kuoy, 7, were both critically injured in the blast and have been hospitalized in Phnom Penh, Ly Vantha said.
“The three went into the jungle to collect firewood but they found the B-40 bombshell and they used their knives to hit it for fun,” he said.
Vong Ran may recover but Kun Kuoy’s condition is extremely grave, he added.
In Battambang province’s Ratanak Mondul district, Chem Samnang, 38, was killed on Tuesday when a B-40 exploded as he was trying to open it and remove the explosives to sell the rocket as scrap metal, Sdao commune police chief Ram Rith said.
Police later discovered an array of unexploded ordnance including 60mm and 62mm mortar shells and B-40 rockets at the scene where Chem Samnang was killed, Ram Rith said.
“We didn’t know that he went into the heavily mined forest to collect bombshells and other unexploded ordnance to sell as scrap metal,” Ram Rith said.
“We always educate villagers and have banned them from doing such dangerous work,” he said, adding that Sdao commune saw ferocious fighting during the war years.