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Half-hour’s work in field takes heavy deminer toll

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Three deminers killed in anti-tank mine explosions in Choam Ksan district, Preah Vihear province on January 10. HENG RATANA VIA FACEBOOK

Half-hour’s work in field takes heavy deminer toll

Three demining operators from the Cambodian Self-Help Demining (CSHD) were killed and one was seriously injured when an anti-tank mine exploded in Morokot commune’s Sen Techeas village of Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district, while another official from CSHD intervention brigade 9 was killed when unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonated, according to a report from the Choam Ksan district police on January 10.

The report said the anti-tank mine and UXO both exploded in the village. The first explosion occurred at 11:10am on January 10 at a cassava plantation, killing Huon Ly, 43, who served in CSHD intervention brigade nine.

The second explosion that day was an anti-tank mine that detonated at 11:30am on January 10 in the village at the foot of Mum Bei Mountain.

The explosion left three officials from the CSHD dead and another seriously injured – in addition to seriously injuring a resident who guided the deminers along the path to the anti-tank mine.

Akira – founder of the CSHD – told The Post on January 10 that he could only express his sincere condolences to their families. He said this was the first time that his organisation’s personnel had been killed in the line of duty.

He said that the explosion wounded on of his deminers

seriously and that he was taken to the emergency room by military medics, while two more had died at the scene and another was missing but presumed dead with his remains essentially obliterated.

Akira said the anti-tank mine was homemade one and that they had tapped it incidentally while trying to remove it and it then exploded while they stood around it at close range.

“The villagers saw it and reported it to us so we could help destroy it. Our team arrived to do exactly that and while preparing to destroy it one of them must have touched it.

“We had dug into the ground around it and we had prepared sandbags to cover it, but then it exploded before we were ready. The explosion killed Sun Vong, Ma Simet and Mon Chak while seriously wounding In Poy,” he said.

First vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) Ly Thuch expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

“We are deeply saddened by the sad news of the deaths of three

deminers during a humanitarian

demining operation. We would like to express our deepest condolences, sadness and sympathy to the families of the deceased.

“We all will remember the heroism and bravery of the late Sun Vong, Ma Simet and Mon Chak, whose humanitarian work has saved so many lives from the threat of landmines during their years-long efforts at keeping others safe throughout the Kingdom,” Thuch said.

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