Explosive Tragedy Strikes Cambodia: Twenty Troops Dead in Ammunition Blast

Prey Beng Village, located in Kampong Speu province, Cambodia, was shaken by a tragic incident involving an ammunition explosion that claimed the lives of twenty soldiers and left several others injured. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet expressed deep shock after learning about the explosion at a facility in the province on a Saturday afternoon, although the cause of the explosion was initially unknown.

Images from the site showed troops receiving medical attention in a hospital, alongside severely damaged houses still smoldering, with some roofs completely blasted off. A report from an army official at the scene detailed the destruction of multiple military vehicles, as well as the demolition of several storage and work buildings. The explosion also caused damage to the homes of twenty-five villagers in the area.

The country has been enduring a prolonged heatwave, with temperatures reaching up to 39C (102F) in the province where the explosion occurred. While high temperatures typically do not cause ammunition to explode, they can make explosives less stable over time, potentially leading to accidents like the one that occurred in Prey Beng Village.

Local resident Pheng Kimneang described a significant explosion followed by minor explosions for an hour, causing damage to residences up to a kilometer away and smashing windows of a neighboring factory. The base affected by the explosion appeared to be located in an isolated field, far from civilian buildings.

Prime Minister Manet extended his sympathies to the families of the fallen soldiers and promised that the government would cover the costs of their funerals and compensate the injured. Manet, who graduated from the United States Military Academy and succeeded his father as prime minister last year, emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting those affected by the tragic incident.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by military personnel and civilians alike in areas where explosive materials are stored or handled. The government’s swift response and pledge of support highlight the importance of solidarity and assistance in the aftermath of such tragedies. Officials are continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion to prevent similar incidents in the future, ensuring the safety of both military personnel and local residents.