Two M381 rocket grenade shells were dumped on the windowsill of a house on Street 156 in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kok district Thursday morning, according to Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) director Heng Ratana.
Mr. Ratana said the shells were designed to be fired with an M79 grenade launcher and could not be detonated as they had not been wired as explosives.
“The shells are still in good condition and are high quality,” he said. “We removed them from the residents’ house at 9 a.m. this morning”
Tuol Kok district deputy police chief Cheng Sokthan said that the shells had been moved by CMAC’s safety team to “avoid chaos” in the city, but had not been a threat to anyone’s safety and had likely been placed in the window grate by whoever found them to attract attention from passersby.
“Maybe some scavengers found them at nighttime and kept them behind the house because that area of Street 156 is very narrow and a [busy] place where cars and trucks are repaired,” he said.
Mr. Sokthan said that because the shells were found intact, detonation would not have been possible.
“The residents weren’t scared because it wasn’t a bomb wired as a trap. [The shells] were alone and we did not find a wire or battery tied up to them,” which would be necessary in order to make a live bomb, he said.
The discovery of the shells came a day after a bomb exploded outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court at 1:10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, shattering a wall of glass at a nearby bank but causing no injuries.
Chhay Sinarith, director of the Interior Ministry’s internal security department, said Thursday that his department had ceased its investigation into the blast and had handed over the responsibility for it and Thursday’s discovery to the Phnom Penh Municipal Police.
Deputy municipal police chief Hy Pru declined to comment Thursday and referred question to Municipal police chief Chhuon Sovann, who could not be reached.
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