UXO, Mine Explosions Kill Three, Injure Eight

Three people were killed and eight seriously injured in three se­par­ate explosions this week caused by unexploded ordnance and anti-tank mines, Cambodian Mine Action Center officials said Thursday.

On Monday, two men were killed and three injured in Bat­tam­bang province’s Mong Russei district when a truck in which they were traveling detonated a war-era an­ti-tank mine in Prey Chik commune, said Battambang provincial po­lice Chief Chuop Pothirith.

Also on Monday, a 27-year-old man was critically injured in Kom­pong Cham province’s Stung Trong district when tampering with a B-40 rocket.

The victim, Men Khoeun, was left blind in both eyes and had his left arm blown off when the rocket ex­ploded at his home in Bak Al­oung com­mune, said district Gov­ernor Koa Sok An.

On Tuesday, a man was killed and four others, including two young boys, were injured when  UXO they had collected for scrap metal exploded in Prey Veng province’s Kamchay Mear district.

CMAC Director Khim So­phorn blamed the deaths on growing numbers of villagers sca­venging for bomb refuse to sell as scrap me­­tal.

“Although the villagers know about the dangers of UXOs from our announcements and huge ‘dan­ger mines’ posters…they still go looking for UXOs to sell,” Khim Sophorn said.

“If local au­thorities closely cooperated with CMAC and strictly cracked down on UXO collectors, confiscated their demining equipment and punished them with trafficking in weapons, it might re­duce the number of mine victims.”

According to the Cambodian Red Cross, there were 80 land mine and UXO casualties in Jan­ua­ry and 131 in February.

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