A Battambang man stepped on a landmine while laying animal traps near his crops on Friday, damaging one of his legs so severely it had to be amputated, local police said yesterday.
Hel Horn, chief of staff at Sampov Loun district police station, said farmer Chheun Kemhong, 39, of Phnom Proek district, was laying traps to catch game near his corn and cassava fields at the foot of Nam Sab Mountain in Serei Meanchey commune when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine.
Family members were in a nearby field when they heard the explosion and ran to his aid, calling police because they did not have a vehicle for transportation. His family carried Kemhong to the road, where a police truck took the injured farmer to the hospital.
“He was sent to the emergency hospital in Battambang province to save his life. The doctor operated and cut his left leg off,” Horn said.
The incident occurred in land along the Cambodian-Thai border, where 10 per cent of Battambang’s territory still has not been demined, said Sun Somphors, a CMAC official in Battambang.
“Kamrieng, Phnom Proek and Samlot districts were the battlefields between government and Khmer Rouge troops in 1980,” Somphors said. “A huge part of land in those three provinces was cleared and has become arable land, except the land located along the Cambodia-Thailand border.”
According to statistics from the Cambodia Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, between January and April there have been 13 people killed and 20 injured by unexploded ordnance accidents.