Two boys were killed and another two seriously injured after playing with football-shaped firecrackers on Sunday night in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district.
District police chief of staff Yeth Sareth said the four boys were all related and had been playing with the explosives despite knowing it was dangerous.
“Young people often play with firecrackers in the street or around their house when there is a big festival like Pchum Ben, but we always tell them not to because it is dangerous,” he said.
Mr Sareth said children ignored the warnings because they had never witnessed an accident themselves.
The victims in Sunday’s blast had wanted to make the noise of their firecrackers louder, he added.
“We will not allow anyone to play with firecrackers any more,” he said. “We will go to the stores in the village and markets to seize any firecrackers on sale.”
The dead boys were named as Vei Vy, 11, and Pun Sambath, 13, and the injured as Pun Sokhun, 16, and Moeun Sopheak, 17.
According to a National Police report, the four boys had tried to make a missile by emptying the contents of some firecrackers into a plastic tube and burning it.
“The blast was very loud. Villagers saw four boys covered in blood. Two died at the scene and the other two were sent to hospital,” the report read.
Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Khuong Sreng meanwhile issued an announcement banning the use of all kinds of firecrackers shaped like a football.
Mr Sreng said vendors in the capital must not sell football firecrackers, which look like bombs, in order to ensure security, safety and public order.
“Vendors have to suspend importing and selling football firecrackers immediately,” said Mr Sreng. “The markets committee and local authorities must take action by collecting all football firecrackers to be kept at municipal police stations.”
Earlier this month, three men were killed and another three injured when a stash of football firecrackers exploded in a truck in Banteay Meanchey province.