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.