Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana has called on the public who live near mine-containment areas to stop trying to dispose of the mines themselves because it is dangerous and could lead to a loss of life.
Ratana said people need to collaborate with the authorities and request mine clearance free of charge.
He told The Post on Tuesday that local police forces and CMAC forces in provinces containing mines were continuing to instruct villagers to stop their activities.
Residents in Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Banteay Meanchey provinces, he said, had cleared most of the mines themselves but encountered danger and CMAC had to rescue them.
“When they encountered danger, our group launched an investigation and found that they couldn’t remove mines from the ground completely because they had no demining materials.
“More importantly, demining is dangerous for both the deminers and land use because residents feel it is safe when it is not,” Ratana said.
He said hired deminers had no clear techniques or training and they are usually just former soldiers or young people.
“This is very dangerous. They lack technical materials, proper skills and lack procedures to manage, control and inspect mines safely. It is illegal because they don’t know where mines and explosives will be stored,” he said.
Minh Sron, the head of the 6th Deming Unit in Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchy and Steung Treng provinces, said on Tuesday that CMAC has collaborated with the National Police to educate and spread the word about the dangers of demining by the public and has instructed them to contact local authorities if they encountered unexploded ordnances.
“National Police forces and CMAC are partners working together to spread the word about the consequences of UXOs left behind since the war era,” he said.