In a statement released Tuesday to mark Cambodia’s 16th National Mine Awareness Day, Prime Minister Hun Sen warns all Cambodians to be vigilant of an increase in anti-tank mine casualties.
“Mines and UXOs left by the legacy of the Indochina war and internal conflict in Cambodia for three decades not only caused serious tragedy for our people’s lives but also created obstacles to restoring and developing families’ livelihoods,” the statement says.
The prime minister says that over the past 23 years, roughly 2.5 million UXOs, 1 million personnel mines and 23,000 anti-tank mines have been neutralized.
Yet in the past three years, he adds, anti-tank mine incidents have increased due to wider usage of heavy machinery.
Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, said causalities from UXOs and mines rose from 111 in 2013 to 154 last year, especially in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Pursat provinces.