A man was instantly killed and another seriously injured in an unexploded ordnance (UXO) explosion at Phnom Sar Mountain in Reaksmey Sangha commune of Battambang province’s Ratanak Mondul district, local police said.
Commune police chief Hy Rosmas identified the victim as Phang Phorn, 27, a resident of Dangkor Teab village of Battambang town’s Tuol Ta Ek commune. The impact of the explosion caused his left leg to be severed. He died instantly.
The injured victim was identified as Chhay Kosal, 35, a resident of Anlong Vil village in Sangke district’s Anlong Vil commune. The shrapnel hit both his eyes and he was taken to Battambang Referral Hospital, where he was receiving intensive care.
“According to Kosal, they were digging out the stumps of Thnong and Beng trees in order to make furniture. They already dug one Beng tree stump a day earlier.
“On the day of the accident, they returned to the site to dig at the stump of a Thnong tree, and hit a UXO which then exploded,” said the police chief.
Leng Srey Pov, the deceased’s aunt, said she was “sorry” for her nephew’s fate as he was trying to earn some money for his family.
“He had a little income and spent it very frugally, with the rest of it going to his family. He died without saying goodbye to his three siblings, aunt and uncle,” she said.
Ratanak Mondul district police chief Sorn Nil said the location where the explosion took place was a battlefield during the 1980s, and had not been cleared from landmines and UXO.
Try Panharith, director of Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) Demining Unit 2 in Battambang, said all mountains, except those in tourism resorts or deemed culturally significant, have not been cleared from mines and UXOs.
He said landmines and UXOs are remnants of wars and still pose a threat to the lives of people anywhere it is not cleared, especially on former battlefields.