A woman was killed and three of her family members injured in Mondulkiri province following the explosion of a decades-old grenade on Saturday, according to local authorities.
Pech Chreada district police chief Sao Sovannarith reported that the device was found by an ethnic Phnong family’s 6-year-old son, who was swimming in a local river and retrieved the item for his mother to sell.
As Sovannarith explained, the boy’s father, Yel Min, told police that as soon as he saw the device he shouted for the children not to play with it, but the boy tossed it to his mother, Plol Pcherng, who was killed instantly when it exploded at her feet. The two children were seriously injured and hospitalised in Mondulkiri, while Min was only slightly wounded.
According to data from the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, Saturday’s death was the 63rd unexploded ordnance (UXO) incident reported this year and the second fatality of November. No previous incidents have been documented in Mondulkiri province since 2010.
“Our authorities often cooperate with experts from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre [CMAC] to educate people to stay away from mines and unexploded ordnances,” explained Sovannarith.
“However, people, especially children, seem not to have fully understood the risks.” He added that based on the remains of the explosion, police concluded that the device was a US-manufactured grenade left over from the 1960s.
Representatives of CMAC could not be contacted yesterday for comment.