War-Era Grenade Kills 16-Year-Old, Maims Friend

A 16-year-old boy in Kompong Cham province was killed on Monday and his friend lost both his legs after an old rocket-propelled grenade they had found in the forest exploded as they played with it, a local official said on Tuesday.

Yorn Meng and his 11-year-old neighbor Khlouk Chhviet found the B-40 grenade when they ventured into the bushes behind their village to hunt, and took it home, said Soeun Tith, deputy Stung Trang district police chief.

“They were hitting the bomb and it exploded,” he said.

Yorn Meng died instantly, he said, while Chhviet lost both legs. He was recovering at a local hospital.

In a separate incident, a 23-year-old man was injured in Preah Vihear province on Saturday after stepping on a landmine during an illegal logging trip to the heavily contaminated Thai-Cambodian border.

Chin Vong was returning with five or six other loggers when he stepped on the mine, which blew his left leg off, said Ruon Yeth, deputy police chief of Choam Ksan district.

He said Mr. Vong was recovering in the hospital and that the other loggers were uninjured. Asked whether any of them were arrested for illegal logging, he said they had all gone home and hung up.

Mines and unexploded ordnance killed or injured 83 people last year in Cambodia, the first time the annual total fell below 100 since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, as far as official records go back.

In the first two months of this year, 19 people were killed or injured by such devices.

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