Landmine Museum

Siem Reap, Cambodia

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The Cambodia Landmine Museum has evolved from a small shack museum by former soldier and deminer to a formal museum and charitable organization. The museum exhibits a variety of defused mines, bombs and other ordinance as well as information on mines, demining and Cambodia’s mine problem.

The Land Mine Museum, opened in 1999, consists of a simple corrugated iron building. Its director, the quiet and unassuming Mr Aki Ra is a former child soldier of the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese armies. Aki Ra, along with his fellow conscripts were forced to lay the anti-personal devices that covered Cambodia. As an adult, he worked with the United Nations in the early 1990’s to detect and clear the mines that until only 10 years ago, surrounded the now tourist packed grounds of Angkor Wat.

This clearing exercise is far from complete as it is estimated that 6 million mines remain in the soil of Cambodia. These uncleared mine fields are primarily located along the Thai/Cambodian border, and it is here that Aki Ra regularly journeys to continue this dangerous work.

Villagers are still regularly maimed or killed by landmines that come with “manufactured in” labels reading China, Russia, US, Vietnam and Germany and date stamps from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. The devices have proven to be remarkably resilient, remaining in active condition many decades after they were first placed in the ground.  

If visitors doubt the impact of the mines on display, the human reminder is ever present by the handful of child amputee victims that live at the museum. A very practical program has been put in place to provide these children with much needed assistance.

Photos below of exhibits from the Landmine Museum:

Landmine with tripwire tied to a branch; can you see the tripwire?

 

Samples of the hundreds of different types of landmines & unexploded remnants of war, deadly garbage wreaking death & carnage.