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Team Finds Widespread Cluster Munitions Near Border

  • Chun Sakada
  • VOA Khmer

A Cambodian army soldier takes photographs of the damaged section of Cambodia's famed Preah Vihear temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Preah Vihear province.

A Cambodian army soldier takes photographs of the damaged section of Cambodia's famed Preah Vihear temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Preah Vihear province.

The Cambodian Mine Action Center has found more than 300 hectares of land peppered with cluster munitions, believed to be fired by Thailand during border fighting in February.

Clearance of the unexploded ordnance could take up to a year or more, demining officials said, following an assessment of the area by CMAC and Norwegian People’s Aid.

“We are searching for more areas affected with submunitions of cluster munitions,” CMAC Secretary-General Heng Ratana told VOA Khmer Wednesday.

Jan Erik Stea, program manager for mines at Norwegian People’s Aid, told reporters Wednesday the munitions were found druing a two-day assessment in April. Twelve areas, including four in villages, spread over more than 1.5 million square meters in Preah Vihear province’s Choam Khsant district were identified, he said.

“Between 5,000 and 10,000 people will be directly impacted by the cluster munitions,” he said. “They have small submunitions between the houses, which is of course a danger for the people living there.”

Two types of submunitions—M42 and M85—were identified, he said.

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