Local authorities, in cooperation with officials from the Cambodian Mine Action Center, yesterday retrieved eight B40 rocket-propelled grenades at the residence of one of the local families in Siem Reap province. The operation took place after authorities witnessed a family using the unexploded ordnances as a makeshift stove.
The discovery was made in Varin district’s Sre Nouy commune.
District police officer Hong Poheng said: “The family uncovered the eight UXOs while cutting down some wood in the forest.”
Assuming that the items found were ordinary metal, Poheng said, they used three of the UXOs to prop a makeshift stove.
“Fortunately, the munitions didn’t explode and injure the families as well as the other villagers,” he added.
The UXOs have since been retrieved by CMAC for safe disposal.
“The local authorities and CMAC have educated the family about UXOs and warned them not to collect such items again,” said Poheng.
Poheng said the incident serves as a stark example of how people, even in these times, remain unaware of
the dangers of UXOs. Therefore, he said, more awareness-raising campaigns should be launched about the hazards of UXOs, especially among residents in rural and remote areas.
CMAC has repeatedly called on citizens to observe caution and refrain from touching or playing with UXOs as they still run the risk of exploding, leading to death, disabilities and damage to property.
In addition, should anyone come across UXOs, CMAC said, the discovery has to be reported to local authorities or nearby landmine operators.
According to a half-year report of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, this year has so far seen eight people killed and 27 others injured by landmines and UXOs.
During the first quarter, landmine operators across the country also cleared 36,180.704 square kilometres of landmines, destroying 4,893 anti-personnel mines, 120 anti-tank mines and 14,195 explosive remnants of war.
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