UXO Kills Deminer in Pursat, Injures Soldier in Preah Vihear

A man working for demining organization HALO Trust Cambodia died on Friday after being struck by a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Pursat province on Thursday morning and rushed to a hospital in Thailand, officials said on Sunday.

Pen Naroth, 36, severely injured his left arm and chest in the explosion at about 10 a.m. in Veal Veng district’s Thma Da commune—about 2 km from the Thai border—while inspecting land that had been freshly cleared to build houses, said commune chief Prom Ngon.

“The land was being cleared for residential purposes. The accident took place right in front of a health center located in Ek Pheap village,” he said.

Pen Naroth was rushed to a hospital across the border after the explosion but died of his injuries overnight, Mr. Ngon said, adding that the victim’s body was returned to Cambodia on Friday afternoon.

The commune chief said the area saw heavy fighting in 1981 and 1982 between Vietnamese-backed government forces and remnants of the Khmer Rouge. He said HALO Trust had been working to remove UXO in the area for the last two years.

HALO Trust could not be reached for comment.

In a separate case on Saturday morning, a soldier returning from a patrol along the Thai border in Preah Vihear province lost a leg in a landmine explosion, said Choam Ksan district chief Chea Kimseng.

Ly Loun, 36, was the only member of a nine-man team to be injured in the blast, which occurred at around 10 a.m. in his district, he said.

“They found a motorbike near the border, and Mr. Loun was pushing it back to the base,” he said, explaining that they believed the owner of the motorbike was involved in illegal activity along the border.

Ly Loun was walking alongside the motorbike when he detonated the mine, Mr. Kimseng said, adding that he was rushed to the provincial referral hospital in Preah Vihear City, where his left leg was amputated.

(Additional reporting by Peter Ford)

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