Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Ananth Baliga
The Phnom Penh Post, Wed, 8 March 2017
The Cambodian Mine Action Centre yesterday retrieved and neutralised a massive M117 bomb from Kampong Speu province’s Prek Kmeng commune, and safely detonated four smaller bombs found in Preah Sihanouk province on the same day.
CMAC chief Heng Ratana said the group had been alerted about the 350-kilogram bomb by villagers late Friday evening and were only able to reach the site yesterday.
“It was reported by the villagers, who were trying to dig a hole for a pond,” he said. “Our team has cleared it now.”
He added that the M117, a US-made bomb used extensively during the Vietnam War, was rarely found in Cambodia, with the MK82 more routinely unearthed.
Ratana said there was a risk for villagers who were increasingly using excavators to dig holes, which could increase the chances of an explosion.
The four small bombs found in Preah Sihanouk, dropped as part of a cluster bomb, were reported by a rice farmer in Kampong Seila commune yesterday, with CMAC safely detonating them nearby.
Ty Sarom, the farmer, said he was clearing his field when he found the bombs and placed them under a nearby tree. CMAC first intended to take the small explosives, but decided to detonate them instead.
“They said they could not move those bombs to another place since it might explode during transportation as the road is uneven,” Sarom said.