“Oh shit” – The moment a guide thought he’d taken us into a Cambodian minefield.
Above Photo: Stopped in his tracks, our guide in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia, thought he’d almost stepped on a land mine.
I was recently doing some BACK-related research near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, in remote Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia, looking for Khmer Rouge sites when we went way off the beaten track.
We were investigating a little-visited area, and had walked off a defined path through the jungle.
Previously assured by my guide that there were no land mines in the area, I still didn’t believe him. He’d just repeated the same platitudes about UXO clearance in Cambodia that others had so glibly and mistakenly given us before, so I was treading very carefully, recalling the fate of characters in my book who had done equally stupid things.
As I took the above photo, he suddenly froze and stared for a very long time at the circular metal object he’d almost stepped on, thinking it was a land mine.
Unfortunately,standing on them is an all-too common occurrence in Cambodia. MAG, the Mines Advisory Group, estimate there are a staggering four to six million land mines still in the ground, and there are hundreds of deaths and injuries from them each year.
Fortunately, this time “ours” turned out to be harmless – the top of a buried oil drum, but the photo catches the moment our guide thought he’d really taken us into a minefield…
Our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
And for POWs left behind in Laos:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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