Landmines still a threat in Siem Reap with more to clear
Although Siem Reap has been cleared of more than 1,400 square kilometres of landmines with nearly four million pieces of unexploded ordnance destroyed over the past 25 years, it still remains a landmine threat with more areas to be cleared.
On Tuesday, the National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Office in collaboration with the Chi Kreng district police and the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC)’s specialised units who were clearing another 2,000 square kilometres of landmines in the province stumbled onto more UXO.
CMAC collected 126 unexploded ordnance from Banteay Ampil and Soutr Nikum districts and other areas in Siem Reap province and destroyed them in Prey Pros village in Chi Kreng district’s Sangvoeuy commune.
More ammunition recovered from other districts in the province were also destroyed at the O’Anchanh disposal site where it is said to be the safest place to destroy unexploded ordnance as it is far from residential areas.
Director of Firearms and Explosives Colonel Ream Ratana said CMAC collects and destroys all UXOs successfully every year.
Lieutenant Colonel Kong Oeun, deputy police chief of Chi Kreng district police, told Khmer Times yesterday that a few years ago, people in Pong Ro Krom and Khvav communes were affected by unexploded ordnance but no lives were lost.
So far this year, he added, due to public awareness no lives were lost as members of the public always alert CMAC if they come across mines.
CMAC head Heng Ratana told Khmer Times yesterday many provinces have been plagued by protracted guerrilla warfare and they have yet to know exactly where the unexploded ordnance are.
“We will not know until we dig and stumble onto them,” he said, adding that they cannot determine which province has the most unexploded ordnance.
He said the provinces along the Cambodian-Thai border have a lot of UXOs due to guerrilla warfare.