Farmer Digs Up Ammunition Boxes

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Cases of ammunition were found in Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district. National Police

Twelve cases of 12.7mm machine gun ammunition were found by a farmer in Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district on Saturday, according to the National Police website, while elsewhere in the province 16 home-made guns were found.
 
Malai district farmer Khon Virak discovered the ammunition cache while clearing a plot of land covered in wild bamboo. Police have identified the land as a former military base in the days of the civil war and said about half the ammunition found was still usable.
 
All 12 cases are now in district police custody.
 
Elsewhere on Saturday, police in Banteay Meanchey’s Thma Puok district discovered 16 homemade guns on a tractor.
 
The owners of the weapons were arrested, but released with a warning after explaining to police that the guns were used solely for hunting.
All 16 guns, however, were confiscated by officers and are now being held at the district police headquarters.
 
Pring Panharith, regional commander for the Cambodian Mine Action Center in Battambang, told Khmer Times that his unit worked to clear Banteay Meanchey of mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and ammunition.  
 
Mr. Panharith said his unit often receives calls from farmers about UXO and ammunition they find while plowing their land.
 
He added that many farmers have been killed by mines when they drive over them in heavy machinery.
 
“When they use heavy tractors to plow their land, the machines trigger the mines buried there. It causes big explosions that sometime take a farmer’s life,” said Mr. Panharith.
 
According to a report issued by the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) last month, Cambodia recorded 64,628 injuries from mines or explosive remnants of war (ERW) from 1979 to June this year.
 
Of those injured, 79 percent resulted from mines. Fifty-five percent of the casualties represented injuries, while 14 percent resulted in amputations, the CMAA report read.
 
Of the casualties, more than 80 percent were male.

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