A 25-year-old woman was killed on Monday morning when her 12-year-old son accidently caused a B40 rocket to explode in Soeng commune’s Kandal village, O’Chrov district, Banteay Meanchey province.
The victim, Chea Srey Sar, was picking fruits near a cassava plantation with her two sons aged 12 and two, and her sister, Chea Srey Muoy, 34, when the incident occurred.
The children and Srey Muoy suffered injuries.
District police chief in charge of security Chorn Mab said the family had gathered to pick black plums near a cassava plantation which was recently harvested, not far from a small hill known for having remnants of war such as unexploded ordnances.
The 12-year-old boy found a B40 rocket and started playing with it, Mab said. Srey Muoy then told him to throw it away.
When he threw the B40 rocket, it exploded, killing Srey Sar and injuring his brother and aunt.
Mab said the victims were rushed to hospital for treatment.
Speaking to The Post from the hospital, Srey Muoy said doctors had performed surgery to remove shrapnel from her and her two nephews.
She said the doctor informed the family that her two-year-old nephew may suffer blindness if he doesn’t receive proper care. Surgery was required to remove three pieces of shrapnel from him – two pieces from his shoulder and one from his left eye.
“I feel so sorry for my nephew. He is now an orphan at just two years old. The doctor confirmed that his left eye was hit with shrapnel and he could be blind in that eye in future,” she said.
Srey Muoy said her injuries were minor.
The family is originally from Kouk Thlok Leu commune’s Kampong Kdei village in Siem Reap’s Chi Kraeng district, but they moved to Kandal village after they were hired to grow cassava plants.
In light of the accident, Mab urged the public who find unexploded ordnances to immediately report them to the police.
“We will send specialists to safely remove them. Under no circumstances should they be touched,” he said.