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Demining group finds, destroys mortar shells

Authorities stand next to a collection of UXOs after they were discovered in Oddar Meanchey on Saturday. Photo supplied
Authorities stand next to a collection of UXOs after they were discovered in Oddar Meanchey on Saturday. Photo supplied

Demining group finds, destroys mortar shells

Fourteen unexploded mortar shells have been extracted from the outskirts of a village in Oddar Meanchey province and destroyed, demining group Halo Trust said yesterday.

Smann Makara, Halo Trust chief of ordnance destruction, said the Chinese-made weapons were unearthed near Trapaing Ma Am Senchey village in Bansay Reak commune.

Villager Khout Chheang discovered the dangerous devices when he took his bulldozer to clear his land for farming, just 300 metres east of the village, according to Bansay Reak commune police chief Men Sam.

Chheang happened upon the first shell buried 1 metre underground, but when he tried to remove it, he found several others and alerted the police.

“The ordnances were located near a big tree around 50 metres from a pond. I think those who planted them choose the big tree as a marker, so they could come back to take them,” he said.

Men Sam said that the location was at the crossroads of a popular paramilitary route during the conflicts after the toppling of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Makara agreed the ordnances may have been planted during the civil war years.

Men Sam said in the past three months, 63 cases of ammunition, containing around 300 bullets each, were found in a pagoda in the commune and were later destroyed.

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