Project Sekong 2013: Don’t Count On The Police Here To Solve A Problem With Old Ordnance. People Are On Their Own!

March 18, 2013

In Laos, if you find a bomb, it’s your bomb.  If you find a landmine, it’s your landmine.  To Americans who are accustomed to calling on the police or fire department for a variety of services that fact of life is difficult to grasp.

After we arrive in a village and set up camp we publicly announce that if any person knows of a worrisome piece of ordnance they need only lead our team to it and we will dispose of the item within 48 hours.  (Much sooner if possible!)

On one memorable occasion a man was eager to take up our offer.  For years he had secreted among his possessions a hand grenade that he had found in the forest.  All that time he worried that someone in his family might find it and accidentally detonate it.  He contemplated returning it to the forest but feared that children from another family might find it and become injured.

The man gratefully turned the grenade over to us and we destroyed it along with several mortar shells and a large, general purpose bomb in a controlled demolition far from the village.

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