The Queen Kosomak High School in Kratie province is welcoming students back after a significant mine clearance operation. Teams from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) finished removing unexploded ordnance (UXO) and wartime remnants from the school grounds.

Buried beneath the school in Trapeang Pring village, the UXO posed a lingering threat.

On August 20, after the clearance was complete, Heng Ratana, director-general of CMAC, confirmed the munitions would be taken away for destruction.

“Teachers, students, and residents in Kratie town, please send your children to school as usual on August 21,” he urged in a social media post.

The announcement revealed an astonishing 2,286 munitions were found at the school.

Historically, the Queen Kosomak High School dates back to the era of Sangkum Reastr Niyum, or the People’s Socialist Community.

However, during the tumultuous years of 1975-1979, it became a military base for the Khmer Rouge. Following January 7, 1979, it remained a base until 1987 when it was returned to Kratie province authorities to function as a school again.

Lay Bora, who heads the education, youth, and sport department in Kratie province, shared on August 20 that the school’s current situation was calm, without the need for a strong police presence as the CMAC team worked.

Now, with the clearance complete, he reassured that the grounds are safe.

“The residents, including the students, no longer feel fearful. They’ve seen the clearance teams at work, so we’re confident there are no munitions left,” he stated.