One killed, nine wounded in war-left artillery shell explosion in eastern Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) – A war-left 105mm artillery shell exploded on Monday, killing one man and injuring nine others in eastern Cambodia’s Tboung Khmum province, local authorities said.

The unexploded artillery shell, weighing about 20kg, went off when a fisherman poured boiling lead into it, said Mung Raya, Deputy Police Chief of Tboung Khmum district, where the blast occurred.

“It exploded and its shrapnel killed a 36-year-old man and injured nine others,” he told Xinhua, adding that the fisherman sustained injuries on his legs.

According to Raya, the explosion occurred because the fisherman was trying to convert the artillery shell into a fishing-aided tool.

Tboung Khmum Provincial Deputy Governor Hak Sokmakara said the artillery shell belonged to the United States, who dropped it in the country during the Vietnam War era about half a century ago.

According to Cambodian government figures, from 1979 to 2018, landmine and unexploded ordnance explosions had claimed 19,768 lives and left 45,010 others wounded or had their limbs amputated.