Six people were killed when an anti-tank mine exploded on Jan. 19 in Ta Khmao-a town
in Kandal provincez, about 10 km from the capital of Phnom Penh.
The incident took place in the compound of a military base of the Cambodian People's
Armed Forces (CPAF) of the province . The anti-tank mine exploded at around 11:45
a.m. when some of the six were trying to re-activate it so it could be used to catch
Hang Sarith, a military staffer of the criminal office, said he heard the explosion
about five minutes after he left for a nearby café. "I was sleeping upstairs.
I went to have a cup of coffee because they were making such a noise downstairs.
I had not yet picked up the cup when the mine blew up," he said.
The mine went off on the ground floor of a house which is used as a mobilization
office and is about thirty meters away from the villa of the provincial force commander.
According to Hang, the six bodies flew in different directions. Five of them died
immediately at the scene of the accident, the sixth victim died later while being
driven away by UNTAC.
Yang Ut who was sleeping upstairs was deafened by the explosion.
The victims were Lay Sopheak, Chan Kunthea, Tim Bun Chantha, Kem Kheng, Chhay Bun
Leang and Prev Sok. They were all in their early 20s.
Hang said last Sunday that they caught two sacks of fish by using a hand-made explosive.
"I don't know what to say. They wanted to die," said a high ranking military
officer who asked not to be named. "I used to scold them not to play with mines
because they're not toys. It's also punishable."
He said that the mine was Chinese-manufactured and was already out of use. He also
confirmed that the mine was not taken out of the warehouse of the military base,
but it was believed that it had been brought by soldiers from the front. He said
the explosion occurred when the men were trying to replace the explosive substance
of a B-41 rocket, the shell of which was found among some ammunition belts.
The explosion also caused serious damage to the house.