Three Killed in UXO Explosion

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An elderly man and his two grandchildren were killed after he accidentally detonated an artillery shell yesterday morning in Prey Veng province’s Preah Sdach district, after attempting to dismantle it to create parts for his bullock cart, according to police. 
Brigadier General Men Sibuon, the commander of Prey Veng Military Police, said 73-year-old Tep Phal and his two grandchildren aged 12 and nine from Romchek Commune’s Chongros Village were killed instantly by the 105-mm artillery shell.
Deputy district police chief Captain Seng Sokhom said Mr. Phal had discovered the unexploded ordnance (UXO) in a rice field at about 8am yesterday before taking it home to dismantle it to create parts for his cart, a practice he had been doing for more than 30 years. 
He said Mr. Phal’s two grandchildren were watching their grandfather as he pounded the artillery shell and added that it detonated, killing all three in the explosion.
“The grandfather had serious stomach injuries and died immediately,” said Captain Sokhom. 
According to the deputy district police chief, Mr. Phal’s female grandchild had serious head injuries while his male grandchild was
very badly wounded in his face. Both also died instantly.
“This marks the first time that a UXO has exploded and killed three villagers in my district,” Captain Sokhom said.
He added that hundreds of thousands of 105-mm artillery shells were dropped by the US during the Vietnam War in the 1970s, with many failing to detonate when hitting the ground, serving as lethal reminders of the conflict. 
Captain Sokhom said that last year, district police collected 60 unexploded 105-mm shells from rice fields in the district, handing them over to the Cambodian Mines Action Center for safe disposal. 
He urged citizens to cooperate and report to local police when finding UXO in the fields or other areas. 

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