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CMAC officials inspect 340kg American bomb in Kampong Speu province

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Villagers in Kong Pisei district, Kampong Speu province discover an American M117 bomb. Photo supplied

CMAC officials inspect 340kg American bomb in Kampong Speu province

A US M117 bomb weighing 340kg was found in Kampong Speu province’s Chamkar Doung village on Monday, with Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) officials inspecting the unexploded ordnance the following day, CMAC director Heng Ratana said on Tuesday.

Ratana said villagers reported the discovery to local police and CMAC officials after finding the bomb in Kong Pisei district’s Prey Vihear commune while cultivating their land.

On Tuesday CMAC inspected the large device, prohibiting people from the area as they prepared it for removal to a secure area.

Keo Sarath, the director of CMAC’s Unit 5, told The Post on Tuesday that the bomb was still dangerous. “It could easily explode if removed carelessly”, he said.

“While cultivating their land, villagers found [the bomb] which was dropped during the war era [of the 1970s]. After that, they were shocked and afraid. The CMAC team was scheduled to remove the bomb on Tuesday after inspecting it,” Ratana said.

Khem Sophanra, Kong Pisei district police chief, told The Post that villagers unearthed the bomb while working on their rice field with tractors. Despite its age, it looked relatively new, he said, with little rust.

“After experts inspect the bomb, they will remove it to a secure area. The bomb is about one metre in length and weighs over 300kg,” he said.

Ratana said that between 1963 and 1975, the US dropped a huge number of bombs on Cambodia.

In 2000, former US President Bill Clinton released documents revealing that more than 2.8 million tonnes of conventional and chemical bombs were dropped on the Kingdom during that time.

The bombing campaign was said to have been mounted to destroy North Vietnamese Army units but killed over half a million Cambodians.

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