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Boy loses hand in Kampong Thom after playing with UXO

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Long Ponleu was playing with a B40 rocket in Sala Visay commune when he threw it to the ground and caused an explosion. National Police

Boy loses hand in Kampong Thom after playing with UXO

A 12-year-old boy from Kampong Thom province’s Prasat Balang district lost his right hand when an unexploded ordnance (UXO) he was playing with blew up on Monday.

Prasat Balang district deputy police chief Chey Sam Ath said Long Ponleu was playing with a B40 rocket in Sala Visay commune. The rockets were used to shoot tanks during the civil war, he said.

He said police visited the scene of the incident after learning of the explosion and sent the boy to Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap province.

“We warned the people about the dangers of UXOs. We told them not to touch them but report to authorities for safe removal. The boy, I think did not know it was a UXO, so he played with it,” Sam Ath said.

Sala Visay commune police chief Hang Lem said on Tuesday that the boy went to a plantation with his farther Lan Long, 36, and mother Choeun Chem, 35.

When the parents were busy fishing to cook lunch, the boy found the UXO and threw it to the ground, where it detonated and injured him.

“After the explosion, we went to the scene and found two other B40 UXOs at their plantation. We asked for intervention from officials at the Cambodian Mine Action Centre,” he said.

The director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre Heng Ratana declined to comment on Tuesday, but took to his Facebook page on Monday, posting four photos of the scene and the injured boy at the hospital.

“Really sorry for the 12-year-old boy, who became disabled after losing one hand from the UXO incident on February 17. Again, I call on people not to hit any UXO or any suspicious objects,” he wrote.

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