Phnom Penh: A land mine left over from Cambodia`s three decades of civil war has killed six farmers who were returning from planting rice, a mine clearance official said on Thursday.
The men had been riding a homemade tractor yesterday in the northern province of Preah Vihear when the anti-tank mine exploded, said Heng Ratana of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, a government agency that oversees mine clearing. He said a seventh man was critically injured.
The accident underlined the danger posed by the estimated 4 million to 6 million uncleared land mines and other pieces of unexploded ordnance that kill or maim more than 200 people each year.
There have been more than 60,000 casualties since 1979, when the Khmer Rouge were ousted from power and began their long-running insurgency.
The area where the accident occurred was the site of intense fighting between government troops and communist Khmer Rouge guerrillas in the 1980s and 1990s, said Heng Ratana. Both sides used mines.
Civil war in Cambodia began in 1970 and ended only with the collapse of the Khmer Rouge movement after its chief, Pol Pot, died in 1998.