The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and the Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities on Wednesday collected 30 mines and UXOs from a 48-year-old man who used them to decorate his home in O’Chrov district’s O’Beichoan commune.
CMAC director-general Heng Ratana posted on Facebook on Thursday that the man had collected anti-personal mines and explosive remnants of war and hung them on tamarind trees at his home as decorations. There were 30 mines and they remained active and could explode, he said.
“It is beyond words – the most dangerous idea. [The man] could have been hired as a deminer. The residents must face the law that prohibits the use and the storage of mines and explosive weapons. It is very lucky that the mines did not explode and that no children played with them given how prone they are to exploding,” he wrote.
Ratana called on all citizens to be mindful of mines. When they see anyone use or store mines, they have to report it to the police or the CMAC immediately.
O’Beichoan commune chief Tol Sarin told The Post on Thursday that the man, Ka Soknith, with his wife and four children had collected them from various places. He said Soknith suffers from a mental problem.
He said Soknith is a scrap collector and had spotted the mines along the road or bought them from villagers, while walking to find scrap metal.
He added that the authority and the CMAC offered the family 30,000 riel ($7.50) in exchange for the mines because he bought each of them for 1,000 riel.
“Obviously, it is difficult to blame him because he suffers from a mental problem. He was not aware of the dangers,” Sarin said. We also educated and instructed his family not to store the mines.”
O’Chrov district deputy police chief Ses Vibol told The Post on Thursday that mines included K-58 bombs, 69 B-40 bombs and some other anti-personal mines.