Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - One less unexploded bomb to worry about

One less unexploded bomb to worry about

One less unexploded bomb to worry about


An MK82 aircraft bomb is destroyed by CMAC.


he Phnom Penh-based CMAC EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) team has destroyed another

unexploded MK82 aircraft bomb, the legacy of American B-52 bombing of Cambodia during

the war.

The latest controlled explosion took place on Friday 27 July in a bamboo forest in

Sre Ambel district, one kilometer from Highway 4, where the bomb had been found by

local people. Difficult terrain made moving the bomb to CMAC's demolition field in

Kampong Speu Province impossible, so the decision was taken to detonate it where

it had fallen.

CMAC EOD teams throughout the country are assisted by three technical advisors from

the Belgian Army which has sent personnel to Cambodia for six month rotations since

early 1994. The scope of the UXO (unexploded ordinance) problem in Cambodia is familiar

to that of Belgium - each year EOD teams there get around 3,500 calls to handle UXO

from the two world wars.

Technical advisor Marc Devroedt, 39, said: "We have worked for 85 years [in

Belgium] and the figures stay the same: they don't go down."

He said UXOs, unlike minefields which can be cleared in around 20 to 30 years, would

be found in Cambodia 100 years from now.

Luc Bodart, 42, the senior technical advisor, said that although the bombs typically

buried themselves up to four meters under the ground, they slowly worked their way

to the surface over time.

Bombs failed to explode for several reasons: muddy ground could prevent the fuse

from triggering; excess payload was sometimes dumped from low altitude by B-52s,

which prevented the fuse from arming; and failure of the fuse. The MK82, he said,

contains more than 80 kilograms of explosives and weighs around three times as much.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states