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Soldier loses limb to mine in Anlong Veng

A SOLDIER was injured on Thursday after stepping on a land mine while patrolling a remote area along the Thai border in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district, his commander said yesterday.

The soldier, Sim Pheat of Anlong Veng, was sent to a hospital in Siem Reap province for treatment.

“His leg was blown off by a mine while he was patrolling the border,” said Kong Knar, commander of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in Anlong Veng district. “This is the first time one of my soldiers has been injured by a mine since tension with Thai soldiers began two years ago.”

Heng Ratana, director of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, said that in demining efforts in Oddar Meanchey, populated areas took precedence over mined areas with no residential populations to speak of.

“We still have more mines along border in places that don’t have people,” Heng Ratana said. “It is in our plan to [demine them], but right now our priority is focusing on places where people are living and farming.”

206 Cambodians were injured by mines and unexploded ordnance between January and August this year, Heng Ratana said, as the Kingdom struggles to clear the dangerous remnants of decades worth of conflict.

Anlong Veng district deputy governor Peuy Saroeun said yesterday that local authorities had told residents to exercise caution when travelling in remote areas.

“We have advised people to be careful in areas that have mines and to report them to local authorities, because mines exist in many places in this region,” Peuy Saroeun said.

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