One of two chemical bombs buried at a school and pagoda in Svay Rieng province was yesterday unearthed by an expert team from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre after two days of efforts.
An excavator discovered the device at a depth of 0.8 metres at about 11.30am. The CMAC team said the bomb had probably moved three metres from where it was originally buried, putting it closer to the nearby school.
The two CS gas bombs were dropped on Korki village in 1971 but did not explode, so locals buried them to prevent the chemicals from leaking out.
The team yesterday used heavy duty tarpaulin to cover the bomb and protect it from exposure to sunlight and rain. A temporary shelter was subsequently built over it.
According to CMAC officials, the bomb was misshapen, rusty and covered with damp yellow powder. Specialist equipment detected traces of the chemicals inside.
Experts from the National Authority for the Prohibition of Chemical, Nuclear Biological and Radiological Weapons later arrived on site dressed in full protective gear to start making preparations for disposal of the bomb.
Lieutenant General Ke Da, deputy secretary general of the chemical weapons authority, said work will continue to unearth the other bomb. He added that witnesses had unwittingly provided some inaccurate information related to the burial site of the bomb, because they could not remember the location after so many years.
The unearthed bomb will be wrapped in industrial grade plastic and placed in a special container, along with soil recovered from the site, before it is removed.
Commune Chief Kim Sam Oeun said she was delighted when she heard the first bomb had been located.
She added that students of the local school always complained about a foul chemical smell that affected but they never knew exactly what it was.