Two men were killed on Sunday in separate cases of landmine and unexploded ordnance explosion in the provinces of Kandal and Battambang.
Colonel Duong Teng, Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district police chief, said 51-year-old scrap metal buyer Y Sarin was killed Sunday afternoon after a 105mm-artillery shell he bought exploded in the district’s Chrey Las commune.
“We do not know where the victim bought the artillery shell. He probably got it from a scrap collector and used a cutting machine to open the UXO, causing an explosion and killing him instantly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Chhay Mab, Battambang’s Rokha Kiri district police chief, said 35-year-old man Chun Norl died Sunday morning after succumbing to injuries sustained in an accidental landmine explosion in Prek Chik commune.
“The victim was from Pursat province and was hired to drive a tractor to plough land in the commune. While working on the land, he accidentally hit the mine, which left one his legs severed. The landowner and local authorities brought him to the hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival,” said Lt Col Mab.
The area he was ploughing was said to have been cultivated for several years without any mine explosions. Despite the lack of incidents, Lt Col Mab said the land is nearby a mine-hazardous area.
The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority said this year there have been 36 casualties, including nine fatalities, due to landmine and UXO explosions, marking a 42 percent decline compared with the same period last year which reported 62 victims.
Battambang had the highest number of casualties at 14, followed by Banteay Meanchey and Kampong Thom provinces.
CMAA vice-president Ly Thuch last week called on people to practise caution when they uncover mines and UXOs and refrain from visiting, ploughing or clearing lands which are in the vicinity of mine-contaminated areas. He also asked the public to immediately report any discovery of remnants of war to local authorities and demining operators.