5 kids injured in Cambodia mine blast
The explosion of two mines wounded five children on Saturday in Thmor Pouk district, Battambang province, some 250 km northwest of the capital city, police source told Xinhua by phone.
Two of them were heavily injured, while the other three slightly over the blast in Sre Laor village, said Yort Rai, Deputy Police Chief of the district.
“They found the two mines in a black plastic bag behind their village and thought that it was make-up powder boxes. They hit them with a stick in order to take off the shells and sell them to waste-pickers. They then exploded,” he said.
The two injured seriously were sent to a children’s hospital in Battambang provincial town, he added.
“The girl suffered from injuries on face, hands and chest. Both children may become blind and lose their hands,” he said, adding that the four boys and one girl were from four to seven-years-old.
Earlier on Friday, seven mine cleaners died over the blast of three anti-tank mines in Komrieng district, Battambang province.
According to the Cambodia Mine Action Center, there were more than 400 human casualties over mine and UXO (unexploded ordnance) explosions in 2006 in Cambodia, or 50 per cent decrease over the average number of the previous six years.
Due to 30 years of armed conflicts, Cambodia has become one of the world’s most heavily mined countries with an estimated four to six million of such “hidden killers” buried underground in areas as extensive as 2,900 square kilometers.
All the mines and UXO may take another 150 years for the kingdom to clear out, statistics say.