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CMAC deactivates 132 cluster bombs in Kratie

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Cluster bombs found in Ksim commune’s Samrong village in Snuol district. Photo supplied

CMAC deactivates 132 cluster bombs in Kratie

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) on Monday deactivated 132 US-made BLU-24 cluster bombs in Samrong village in Kratie province’s Snuol district.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana on Monday urged people who live in provinces along the Cambodia-Vietnam border to be vigilant. He cautioned villagers to stay away from all unexploded ordnances (UXOs).

“Be cautious and don’t touch or dig out [bombs] because it is easy for them to explode,” he said.

Keo Sarath, who is CMAC’s Demining Unit 5 head based in neighbouring Tbong Khmum province, said the UXO was found on Sunday after the forest had been cleared to expand a plantation.

“BLU-24 cluster bombs were made in the US and are war remnants left behind from the period of conflict in the 1970s. [The BLU-24] is a collection of bombs designed to be dropped from aeroplanes. The cluster bombs consisted of six dispenser units, 2m in length, totalling 132 bombs," Sarath said.

His team attended the site and successfully deactivated the collection of bombs, which were taken to a secure location.

CMAC director-general Ratana said that according to CMAC data, Cambodia was bombed by the US across 115,275 locations. The US carried out 230,544 bombing raids, which meant more than 2.8 million tonnes of ordnance was dropped which is equivalent to a total of 2,590,000 bombs.

Meanwhile, British demining group HALO Trust destroyed and deactivated six pieces of UXO in Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Tralach district on Tuesday.

The UXO was found by villagers and sent to the district’s Longvek commune police station, said Sman Makara, HALO Trust’s head of mobile teamwork ordnance clearing, on Tuesday.

He said the UXO included 107mm, 105mm, 75mm and 60mm mortars, and US-made M79 and M26 grenade launcher rounds.