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UXO blast kills farmer

A 52-year-old farmer was killed when a piece of unexploded ordnance was set off while he and his wife were clearing land in Battambang province’s Samlot district on Sunday.

Samlot district police chief Ly Buoy said the victim, Oum Kim, and his wife were expanding their corn and cassava fields 50 metres apart in unfamiliar land when the UXO exploded.

“His wife heard the sound of an explosion, and she saw that her husband was killed immediately … by bleeding so much, especially from his head and belly,” Ly Buoy said today.

The forested area was a place the victim and his wife had never gone to before, and “they didn’t know if this area had landmines or not”, Samlot district Governor Hen Sophan said today.

“The authorities always appeal to residents not to go to unknown areas,” he added.

Chhiv Lim, project manager for the Cambodia Mine/ERW Victim Information System, said 15 people had died from unexploded ordnance in January alone.

He said Battambang province was a hotspot for mine explosions.

Last November, 14 people were killed after a homemade tractor ran over a civil war-era anti-tank mine, one of last year’s deadliest incidents.

By the end of 2010, Cambodia had registered its first year-on-year increase in casualties resulting from UXOs since 2005.

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