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UXOs found in Preah Vihear province

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
The UXOs found by villagers. National Police

Nearly 100 unexploded ordnances were handed over to the authorities yesterday after farmers working the land found them in Preah Vihear province on Friday.

A Koulen district police official said yesterday that police were called after villagers reported that farmers had accumulated about 70 UXOs.

“Villagers informed the police about the bombs and we went down to see it for ourselves,” the police official said. “We told them not to touch them and wait for CMAC officials to take them away or destroy them at the scene.”

According to a report by the National Police, an unnamed villager also turned in a broken grenade launcher he had found on his farm months ago.

This comes after an agreement was signed between the Cambodian Mine Action Centre and the State Department of the United States.

On Thursday, Heng Ratana, director-general of CMAC, signed a contract agreeing to implement a Cluster Munitions Remnant Survey and Clearance project, an initiative supported by the US government through the State Department.

“The project is for 12 months starting from March to February with a total grant of $1.6 million,” Mr Ratana said at the time. “This is the first phase out of a two-year project.”

He said that in order to achieve the project’s targets, CMAC will need to deploy about 200 staff members in eastern provinces, such as Kratie, Kampong Cham, Tboung Khmum, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng and Stung Treng.

Mr Ratana added that his organisation will clear about 2,200 hectares of land and once it is no longer riddled with unexploded ordnances, it will be handed back to about 678 villages.

According to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, after 25 years of demining, Cambodia has cleared 1,036,376 anti-personnel mines, 24,251 anti-tank mines and 2,660,638 explosive remnants of war.

The number of casualties has been brought down from about 4,320 per year in 1996 to an annual average of about 100 per year over the last five years. CMAA estimates that 2,000 square kilometres of land remains to be cleared.

Cambodia aims to be mine free by 2025, but a CMAA officially recently said that donors are needed to raise enough money to fund operations in order to reach the goal.

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