A man in Tboung Khmum province’s Thmar Pich commune on Saturday died after attempting to dismantle an unexploded mine and bashing it with a knife.
Ton Thea, chief of Thmar Pich commune, said 59-year-old Pheap Phal would scavenge for mines and unexploded ordnance and dismantle them.
Mr Thea said nothing ever happened before, but this one caused an explosion, noting that the explosion also injured Mr Phal’s grandson.
“We always tell them not to take mines home or use iron to bash it because they are very dangerous,” he said. “But he did not listen.”
Ly Thuch, vice president of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority, said Prime Minister Hun Sen and other government officials regret any death that resulted from a mine.
“The government expresses condolences to victims and their families who are injured during mine explosions,” Mr Thuch said.
According to a CMAA report, 29 people died between January to March 14. It said that last week alone, four incidents occurred in Oddar Meanchey province, two in Battambang province, and one in Ratanakkiri province.
It said that a majority of the victims lived or worked near forests and relied natural resources.
It added that in order to reduce casualties, authorities should educate citizens to report any findings of mines or UXOs.
CMAA said that people should refrain from taking mines home or even touching one. Residents should instead contact local authorities in order to have mines removed.
“Do not use heavy machinery on lands suspected of containing unexploded mines and ordnance,” it said.
According to the report, it has been 27 years since demining efforts began in the Kingdom.
More than 1,802 square kilometres of land has been demined and cleared for settlement.
It said that 1,062,661 anti-personnel mines, 24,832 anti-tank mines, 2,767,020 pieces of explosive remnants of war have been found and destroyed.
It added that the number of casulties dropped from 4,320 in 1996 to just 58 last year.