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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

14 die as tractor hits land mine

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Fourteen people died in Cambodia when their tractor ran over an anti-tank mine (AP)

Fourteen people have died in western Cambodia when their home-made tractor ran over an anti-tank mine left over from the country’s civil war in the 1980s.

The incident happened in Battambang province, 155 miles north-west of the capital Phnom Penh, while the farmers were on their way back home from harvesting chillies on Tuesday, police Major Buth Sambo said.

He said 12 were killed instantly, including a one-year-old girl, and two others died on the way to hospital.

The police officer said the area was the site of intense battles between the Khmer Rouge and government forces in the 1980s and early 1990s and thus was seeded with numerous mines.

An estimated four to six million land mines and other unexploded ordnance from more than three decades of armed conflict continue to maim or kill Cambodians each year.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said earlier this year that it would still take years to clear the once war-torn nation of land mines that endanger lives in nearly half the country’s villages.

Cambodian and foreign de-miners have destroyed 2.7 million mines and unexploded ordnance over about 200 square miles and the number of mine casualties has dropped significantly, but the explosives remain a major threat.

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