An 11-year-old boy was seriously injured after a CKC rifle grenade exploded as he was chopping firewood in Battambang’s Bavel district on Wednesday.
The accident happened at 2:30pm along the Ou SlaThour canal. The boy, Cheam Rawatt, is a resident of nearby Onlong Rang village in Klang Meas commune. The area is known to be rife with unexploded mines and ordnance remaining from the civil war period.
Shrapnel tore open the boy’s stomach, causing severe damage to his intestines; he suffered additional injuries to his hands and leg, according to Hong Sarin, the deputy police chief in Bavel district. He was rushed to a hospital in Siem Reap for treatment, where he was in stable condition following surgery.
“The authorities and CMAC [the Cambodia Mine Action Center] have been demining the area, but it’s not all clear,” Hong Sarin said of the canal – a dangerous area popular with locals for sourcing firewood.
Sarin added that UXO explosions remain a frequent occurrence, which often causes minor to severe injuries, though rarely death. Authorities are working with CMAC to find safe land for residents.