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CMAC divers remove US bomb in Kandal

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times Share:
The MK82 bomb removed by CMAC divers in Kandal province. Supplied

A team of divers from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre recovered a large bomb dropped from US planes during the war in the 1970s in Kandal province yesterday.

Heng Ratana, the director-general of the centre, said the 500-pound US-made MK82 aircraft bomb was found by his divers in Samrong Thom commune after residents in Kien Svay district notified authorities.

“An aircraft bomb was found in a pond. The bomb has been safely removed and transferred to the Kampong Chhnang province CMAC branch to defuse,” he said.

He added that in 2017 alone, CMAC had recovered about 30 unexploded MK-82 throughout the country – though the most had been from Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces.

More than 90 unexploded MK-82 bombs were also found in 2016.

From 1963 to 1973, the US dropped about 500,000 tonnes of explosives on Cambodian soil without the approval of Congress, which was required at the time for any military action.

Last year, CMAC’s demining operations cleared 8,636 hectares of minefields and found and destroyed 37,448 landmines and remnants of war which were buried underground across the kingdom.

The majority of cluster munitions and other remnants of war were found in Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum and Kratie provinces, while other anti-personnel mines and anti-tank mines were found in Battambang, Pursat and Oddar Meanchey provinces.

The number of casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnances dropped 34 percent in the first 11 first months of 2017 when compared to the same period in 2016, according to a report by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority.

The report said that from January to November 2017, there were 51 causalities, compared to 77 during the same period in 2016.

Mines and UXOs remain a leading cause of death in the kingdom, with an estimated four to six million landmines and other munitions left over from decades of war and internal conflict, according to a CMAC report from November 2015.

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