Three children and an adult were seriously injured on Wednesday when a mine they were playing with exploded in Thma Da commune, in Pursat province’s Veal Veng district.
District police deputy chief of staff Soley Mesa told The Post on Thursday the four, aged 10 to 22, were herding cattle when the mine exploded and were rushed to the provincial referral hospital.
“One of the children came across the mine in a rice field and showed it to his peers. Then they threw it to the ground several times for fun until it exploded,” he said.
Thma Da commune police chief Pich Sophoan said on Thursday the victims sustained injuries all over their bodies.
“Their parents are taking care of them. I asked them what type of mine it was, but they were unsure. The children threw it to the ground three to four times until it exploded,” he said.
The three children – Soy Tola, 15; Soy Kumpheak, 13; and Soy Sinat, 10 – are siblings. The adult was identified as Kuoy Tangyu, 22. All of them are children of soldiers at the Cambodian-Thai border checkpoint.
Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana declined to comment on Thursday, saying he was in a meeting.
But in his Facebook post on Thursday, he expressed his condolence to the victims’ families.
“I regret this incident. I urge people not to play with unexploded ordnance. Only experts can determine the [UXO] condition. People have to report to the authorities, especially CMAC, when coming across wartime unexploded ordnance,” he said.
In a separate case, two men died instantly when a mine exploded in the same district.
“There are a lot of mines in our region as it was formerly a battlefield. I call on Veal Veng district residents to be cautious while working on their farms.
“If they see any unexploded ordnance, they have to inform the local authorities. They must not touch, burn or play with it. Experts will check and destroy it,” Mesa said.