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http://aa.com.tr/en/world/in-cambodia-s ... er-/542501In Cambodia, second 500-pound bomb pulled from river
By Lauren Crothers, PHNOM PENH, Cambodia
Demining teams salvage US-manufactured bomb that had been sent by Vietnam to Lon Nol regime, but sunk by ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge
A 500-pound bomb was salvaged Wednesday from a Cambodian river just north of the capital, a week after a team newly trained in retrieving underwater ordnance also pulled four artillery shells from a spot nearby.
The mission brings to two the number of United States-manufactured MK-82 aircraft bombs that have been salvaged from Cambodian waterways in under a year.
Last May, the team was dispatched to a stretch of the Mekong river in southern Kandal province, where they lifted and defused a MK-82 that failed to detonate on impact when it was dropped sometime during the early 1970s.
Cambodia is among the countries most contaminated by ordnance following decades of war in neighboring Vietnam, its own civil war, the brutal Khmer Rouge regime that followed, and the dropping of around 500,000 tons of explosives by the United States.
An official from a demining NGO that trained the Cambodian Mine Action Centre’s Dive Team said Wednesday that the newly salvaged remnants of war were discovered -- like last year’s bomb -- after fishermen from riparian communities were approached as part of an outreach program spearheaded by the British Embassy.
“Through this meeting, fishermen said they had found [some remnants] and thought there might be a bunch,” Allen Tan, the country manager for the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, told Anadolu Agency.
“The team investigated and started finding shells… over the course of a search that lasted since last week,” he added. “This week, during a follow-up, a fisherman said ‘we have found an aircraft bomb also’.”
The area in question is called Preak Pnuv, a 45-minute drive north of Phnom Penh, near a rice flour factory.
Unlike last year’s MK-82 bomb, these remnants were cargo on one of the many weapons supply ships sent by Vietnam to the Lon Nol regime, but sunk by ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge soldiers as they advanced.
The four 105-mm artillery shells “are consistent with that type found in shipping configurations,” Tan said, adding that the search for more will continue until the team is satisfied that the contamination has been dealt with.
One of the shells was packed with white phosphorous, an explosive material capable of burning through flesh.
The MK-82, which was retrieved in a similar fashion to the bomb last year, using an inflatable parachute bag that raised it to the river surface, was found to be missing a fuse.
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Most of the armanents barges were sunk on the Bassac and the Mekong south of Phnom Penh. Lon Nol and the KR bought ammo up from Vietnam on the rivers. I worked with a guy who used to unload ammo at night for the KR from barges. US B 52s would target the ammo dumps often and there would be massive explosions and fires.
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