500 UXO units found in Battambang riverbank

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The UXO units consisted of 36 72A landmines, three B40 bullets and 500 K57 bullets. SUPPLIED

More than 500 units of unexploded ordnance (UXO) were discovered by a resident in the riverbank of Stung Sangke River in Phlov Meas commune’s Phlov Meas village in Battambang province’s Ratanak Mondol district.

District police chief Sorn Nil told The Post on June 9 that after being alerted to the UXO units, he ordered commune police to guard the munitions and request the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) in the province to defuse and remove them from the riverbank.

He said police have secured the area and are guarding the munitions. The munitions were found on June 8 by a 43-year-old villager, Yav Youn, while he was fishing.

He said the UXO units consisted of 36 72A landmines, three B40 bullets and 500 K57 bullets.

“These 36 landmines can explode even though they have been buried underground for quite some time. The two types of the bullets have rusted out,” he said.

According to Nil, the area used to be a battlefield. The UXO units may have belonged to the army and were stored there for the battle. The munitions were buried under a bamboo grove near the river. In the last few days, there were strong rains in the area which revealed the UXO units.

He said that on June 4, district police had also received information from another resident who had found 12 landmines of the same type while he was ploughing his plantation in Chi Pang village in the same commune.

Provincial CMAC head Pring Panharith said he had sent his forces to defuse and remove the munitions. The munitions appeared after the river had receded.

A few days ago, he said, a farmer in Samlot district’s Sung commune had also found UXO units while ploughing a rice field. The munitions did not explode and have since been removed by CMAC forces.

“These munitions were from the war. Troops had buried them and now they are being uncovered. Most of the munitions are located in Samlot and Kors Kralor districts of Battambang and are the most dangerous,” Panharith said.