July 8, 2011
Cambodia has destroyed 10 rounds of cluster bombs that were shelled onto Cambodia's territory by Thai troops during the exchange of fires between the two countries' forces in early this year, a senior demining official said Thursday.
Saem Punareay, head of Cambodian Mine Action Center based near Preah Vihear Temple, the centerpiece of the border conflict between the two nations, said by telephone that the 10 rounds of cluster bombs were destroyed at the Natural Village of Samdech Decho Hun Sen, located about 17 kilometers south of the disputed Preah Vihear Temple claimed by both sides.
The destruction ceremony was attended by Chuch Pheung, secretary of state of Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and Phay Siphan, secretary of state of the Office of the Council of Ministers and as well as senior military personnel.
Saem Punareay said the cluster bombs that were shelled onto Cambodia's territory have affected 3 villages not far from the temple and the total size of the impact is covering over 182 square kilometers.
He said during the heavy fighting near the ancient temple in February this year, one Cambodian civilian and three policemen were killed by the cluster bombs and 10 others injured.
To date, he said, 33 cluster bombs were found and have been removed from the ground, and many more explosives remain to be left over on the Cambodian soil, but he promised that CMAC will make best efforts to clear all of them regardless of months or years to secure the lives of all human beings.
Of the 33 found, 26 rounds have been destroyed including the one made on Thursday.
Preah Vihear Temple is the flashing point of the border conflict between the two countries since it became the World Heritage Site in 2008.
Cambodia is considered as one of the most landmine-covered countries in Asia following several decades of civil war in the country.