Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Three children killed by suspected Khmer Rouge-era B40 rocket

Three children killed by suspected Khmer Rouge-era B40 rocket

Three children killed by suspected Khmer Rouge-era B40 rocket

Three children were killed after a suspected Khmer Rouge-era B40 rocket exploded in a field in northern Oddar Meanchey province on Sunday.

Police suspect the three boys, aged between eight and nine years old, had tried to break apart the bomb to salvage a copper metal ring to sell to scrap metal dealers, causing the ordnance to explode.

“This whole area is a former battlefield between the armed forces government and Khmer Rouge soldiers,” Keo Than, Trapaing Prasat district police chief, said.

Two of the boys died instantly from the blast in the field, while the third died en route to the hospital from the wounds he sustained in the explosion.

“Their bodies were severely injured by the unexploded ordnance [UXO] – we almost could not identify the victims’ body,” Than said.

While the sale of UXOs is illegal in Cambodia, the trade is hard to stamp out, Cambodian Mine Action Centre director general Heng Ratana said.

“Usually [individuals] try to sell the scrap metal, but this [type of] rocket does not have a lot of scrap metal,” Ratana said, adding in recent years he had seen a big drop in the illegal trade of bombs.

“The B40 rocket launcher was very commonly used in Cambodia and can be found in [war] fields,” Ratana said.

According to UXO research by Cambodian Mine Victim Information System (CMVIS), Oddar Meanchey is a high-risk province for remaining land mines and explosives.

In the first seven months of this year, there have been 114 casualties and 25 fatalities.

In Oddar Meanchey, which has the second highest rate nationally of mine incidents, there have been 47 casualties.

“There are people injured and killed by UXOs nearly every year despite education to warn about the dangers of UXOs,” Than said.

There were 211 casualties in total in 2011.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kim Yuthana at [email protected]
Rachel Will at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,