Wartime Bullets Found in Kandal Province

Construction workers and police in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district on Thursday discovered on a jobsite three boxes of ammunition believed to be left over from fighting in the 1970s, police and a company representative said.

Workers for the Yida manufacturing company were excavating earth to lay a water pipe to the site in Chher Tel commune’s Russei Srok village when they turned up a box containing 250 machine gun rounds, leading them to call police.

After police arrived, the workers dug out two more boxes of ammunition.

“Our workers were operating an excavator to dig the land to put in the water pipes,” said Mey Ratha, a Yida representative. “Then, they saw a box of bullets in the excavator bucket. After that, they put it on the land and opened it and saw those bullets and called police.”

A total of about 750 rounds were discovered.

The ammunition was found about 1.5-meters underground on land that was formerly home to families who had settled there and built homes following the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979. The families moved off the land after selling it to Yida, according to Nov Noeurn, Chher Teal commune police chief.

Mr. Noeurn said that the fact that families had built homes on the land in 1979 suggested that the bullets were buried prior to that time.

“As per my estimation, I think that the bullets have been left from Pol Pot or Lon Nol regime after I talked with local senior people about them,” he said, adding that about 30 percent of the rounds were still live.

The police chief said that the ammunition would be held at the commune police station until after the Pchum Ben holiday, when they will be examined by the government’s Cambodian Mine Action Center.

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