A technical team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons finished inspecting 12 chemical bomb sites in Mondulkiri province yesterday.
Four experts from the OPCW were accompanied by Cambodian authorities on the mission, according to Chey Son, deputy secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Authority for Chemical Weapons.
“Twelve bombs were found recently. Two were unexploded and contain chemical substances,” Son said.
He added that the team from OPCW, the implementing body of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, brought its equipment to inspect the bombs and identify the substances within.
“They took the sample of each substance for experiments, and we will discuss it with each other,” Son explained.
The substances, he added, may be examined abroad.
The team will continue its inspection in Tbong Khmum today, followed by two days in Svay Rieng.
The presence of chemical bombs dropped by the United States before the Khmer Rouge came to power has been a wedge issue in the already tense relationship between Cambodia and America over the past year.
Yout Chanthorn, a villager in Mondulkiri’s Sen Monorom, said he found five bombs in the 1980s while clearing forest for farmland.
“I wondered what is it? I opened it with a stick and I saw yellow powder that flew onto my face and I felt like my eyes were hurt and my face was burning,” Chanthorn said, adding that he recovered a few days later but never dared to inspect the bombs again.