Project Phongsali: A cluster bomb near the school disappears overnight. Someone with strong feelings risked life and limb to make a point.

March 25, 2010

When we found a cluster bomb near school we marked the item with a warning sign. During the night someone visited the site and removed the ordnance. A very risky move!

Day 52

It came as no surprise to us that the cluster bomb on the hill above the school has gone missing.  Its disappearance ends the controversy over our plan to demolish it.  It was located near an old cemetery, and to some people in the village the device posed a danger of angering spirits who might, in retaliation, bring misfortune to the village.

It wasn’t the resolution that we’d hoped for, since the person who moved it was at great personal risk, and if an accident had occurred it would have damaged our organization’s reputation — in spite of the fact that we had strongly opposed anyone handling it and had insisted on dealing with it ourselves.

That particular cluster bomb, the M-83, is not one that local amateurs fiddle with.  Other devices are preferred for their scrap value, or for the explosive they contain.  It’s clear that the bomblet was taken for only one reason: the person who moved it was committed to sparing the village any misfortune that might follow from our disturbing spirits at the old graveyard.

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