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A sign marks a partially unearthed cluster munition earlier this year. Kimberley McCosker/Handicap International
A sign marks a partially unearthed cluster munition earlier this year. Kimberley McCosker/Handicap International

Cluster bombs kill two in 2015

Two people died in Cambodia from cluster munitions last year according to a report released yesterday, though local NGOs say the Kingdom’s figures could be much higher.

According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2016 report, Cambodia remains among the most contaminated countries in the world. The report said at least 4,644 submunitions – the smaller explosives inside of cluster bombs – had been destroyed in Cambodia last year, with an estimated 22 square kilometres of battlefield cleared.

Handicap International Cambodia program manager Kimberley McCosker said it was difficult to discern whether a death was caused specifically by a cluster munition, meaning casualties were often attributed to an “explosive remnant of war” instead.

“In reality, it is generally expected that the number of deaths and injuries is much, much higher than these official statistics say,” she said, adding there were 80 deaths from explosive remnants last year.

Cluster Munitions Coalition campaigner Tun Channareth, who lost a leg to an explosive, appealed to the government to sign the 2008 convention to ban the bombs.

“I have six children, I don’t want them or the next generation . . . to live with this.”

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