A 34-year-old farmer Yang Chanthol died after he drove his tractor over a hidden landmine on Wednesday in Anlong commune’s Ou Ta Meang village in Oddar Meanchey’s Anlong Veng district, according to Khit Sakum, the leader of Halo Trust’s Search and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team.
Sakum said Chanthol was ploughing near the riverbank of his cashew farm when his tractor triggered the landmine at about 2pm on Wednesday.
“At this time, our team is conducting a search around the site after villagers claimed that the farmland in the area had not yet been searched and cleared of landmines and explosive remnants of war,” he said.
Village chief Run Rith told The Post that in the past, organisations had helped with the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) in his village, and they had found and successfully cleared hundreds of them.
But Rith said there were still landmines and UXOs left, and several villagers had been killed or suffered injuries because of them.
“Last year, a villager died and three others were injured. On Wednesday, a landmine explosion killed one and damaged a tractor,” Rith said.
According to Chanthol’s sister-in-law Huy Channa, the victim had been planting cashew trees on the lowlands near the riverbank for five years.
“We ploughed along the cashew tree pathway to plant cassava, beans and corn,” Channa said.
“We usually plough that land two to three times per year, and we have never seen any unexploded ordnances or landmines,” she said.
On Wednesday, Chanthol ploughed about 1ha before stopping for lunch. He resumed work and a few hours later the explosion occurred, Channa said.
Chanthol’s remains were transported to his mother’s hometown in Kampong Speu province’s Oral district, where the last rites will be conducted.
Halo Trust’s EOD Team investigated the area on Thursday morning after they received reports of the incident.