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Rocket find leads to death of 3 children

Rocket find leads to death of 3 children

Three children died in Kampong Chhnang province yesterday afternoon when an unexploded rocket they found and handled blew up.

Pal Chhoeun, district police chief of the province’s Kampong Leng district, yesterday identified the two boys and one girl as Boeun Chandet, 10, Nit Thida, 12, and Nit Vanna, 10.

The accident occurred at about 1pm, when the children, who herd cattle, were walking about 150 metres from their village and found the rusty 60 millimetre rocket, Chhoeun said. They removed the iron flanks, which detonated the explosive.

“The area is the site of a former Vietnamese barracks,” Chhoeun said, adding that it had not been checked by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC). Two of the children were killed instantly and the third died on the way to the local health care centre, Chhoeun said. Police delivered the bodies to the children’s families for funeral services.

After police responded to the scene, they found two 69 B-rockets and one DK 75, which they reported to CMAC, Chhoeun said.

CMAC officials will today go to the area the bombs were found, said Penh Sarath, of Kampong Chhnang’s provincial CMAC office.

Millions of unexploded objects were planted during Cambodia’s civil war three decades ago.

The devices have killed nearly 20,000 people – many of them villagers in the Kingdom’s north and northwestern provinces – since 1979. Unexploded devices killed a total of 22 people last year.

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