ONE person died and three were severely injured after a tractor they were riding ran over several concealed anti-tank mines in Battambang province’s Phnom Prek district on Tuesday afternoon.
Rith Sophorn, a police official in Chak Krey commune, said the mines exploded when the driver, a soldier, swerved to avoid a pothole. The other three casualties were bean farmers who were hitching a ride home on the tractor.
“The tractor was completely damaged, and the people lost legs, hands and suffered head injuries. One of the bean farmers died on the way to hospital due to serious injuries,” Rith Sophorn said.
Two of the casualties were taken to a hospital in Thailand, while the third is currently being treated at the local referral hospital in Chak Krey commune and will soon be taken to Battambang provincial hospital for further treatment, he added.
Phnom Prek district governor Soun Kien said that two other concealed anti-tank mines were found around four metres from the scene of the accident.
“There are many land mines in this area because it used to be a theatre of war. People know that but it is very hard for them to avoid farming on the land,” he said.
In a separate case on Monday, a farmer died after detonating unexploded ordnance in Svay Rieng province. Prach Rim, the provincial police chief, said the man wanted to remove the gunpowder from an unexploded shell in order to poison animals, when it detonated.