A 350-kg M117 aircraft bomb believed to have been dropped during the US’s carpet bombing of Cambodia was uncovered in Takeo province’s Tram Kak district yesterday by local residents, an official said.
Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) Director Heng Ratana said villagers discovered the large bomb buried 5 metres deep while excavating land for a pond. He said it was likely left behind from the US bombardment of Cambodia’s countryside during the Vietnam War.
“We have brought the bomb to a safe area,” Ratana said, explaining it was a rare find for CMAC, which is still working to clear the countryside. “It is very common to receive reports, [but an] M117 is not very common. We have only found three of them this year.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen has on several occasions condemned the US for its carpet-bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. In his recent appeal to the US to forgive debts the Lon Nol regime incurred during the 1970s, he argued that the US owed Cambodia a larger debt for the destruction the bombardment caused.
According to Ratana, an estimated 2,000 square kilometres of land have yet to be demined in the country. He said it was worrying that people continued to attempt to clear land that CMAC had not declared free of mines.