A funeral in Kampong Chhnang town was abruptly postponed on Monday when villagers discovered a box containing two live hand grenades and a box of ammunition as they were digging the deceased’s grave, police said.
According to Kampong Chhnang commune police chief Chea Vannak, the ammunition and the two grenades – which were so well-preserved as to still be usable – were found in a plastic-wrapped case buried about 30 centimetres under the ground.
“It is the third time [this year] that such ordnance was found in this vicinity,” Vannak said. “That location was a military base during the period of war when that ordnance was left.”
“The two grenades are usable, and some [of the bullets] could explode but some cannot,” Vannak added.
After being informed about the explosives, he said, commune police visited the scene but left the box overnight while waiting for the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), which removed it.
Mong Sokunthearoth, provincial director of the CMAC training school, said that the recovered items were American-made M67 grenades and M16 cartridges.
From January to the end of August, he added, villagers and authorities had unearthed nearly 2,900 pieces of unexploded ordnance and handed them over to CMAC in Kampong Chhnang.