An unexploded bomb dropped by the US in the 1970s was found on Saturday and unearthed yesterday by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) in Svay Rieng province’s Svay Chrum district, according to CMAC director Heng Ratana.
Ratana said the MK-82 was found in Ou Samdei village and weighed more than 200 kilograms, including almost 90 kilograms of explosive substance. “It could destroy buildings within 800 metres to 1,500 metres ... We used to see such bombs often,” he said.
Scholar Ben Kiernan has estimated that the US dropped 500,000 tonnes of ordnance on Cambodia during the 1960s and ’70s in an effort to disrupt Vietcong supply lines.
Commune police chief Sok Saron said the bomb was found on Saturday during construction work on a new pagoda.
“The monks hired an excavator to dig the ground and get the soil to build a Buddhist temple. When the excavator was digging, they found the bomb 2 metres deep in the ground. The monks informed us and I in turn informed CMAC,” he said.
“Then we put a danger sign and thorny tree branches to prevent people from entering,” he added. Ratana said the bomb was taken to Kampong Chhnang province where it will be destroyed. He added that there were two other bombs found in Prey Veng recently, which his team plans to unearth soon.
Separately, Ratana said that two tear-gas bombs unearthed last week in Svay Rieng have yet to be removed and CMAC was still in the process of studying the potential impact.