Gio Linh, Quang Tri (June 3, 2019) – In response to an emergency call from local authorities of Gio Viet Commune, Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team of Project RENEW and Norwegian People’s Aid (RENEW-NPA) on Monday safely removed a 750-pound bomb from a forest area of Hoang Ha Village.
According to Gio Viet military officer Hoang Van Don, who made the call, the bomb was discovered by the commune chairman and a land administration officer while they were measuring land for handover to a development project last Friday. Nobody knew why the bomb was there, but local villagers said that strangers had appeared in the village about 10 days ago. The bomb had been partly dismantled from the bottom of the cylinder and some explosives were scattered around.
46-year-old Tran Su, who owns the land where the bomb was found, said he was shocked when he was informed of the situation. He expressed his appreciation to the RENEW-NPA team for their action to remove the bomb right away, noting that children tending water buffalo might encounter it and the result could be a tragic accident.
After lunch break, the EOD team finished transporting the 750-pound bomb, identified as an M117 series, to the central demolition site in Trieu Phong District for safe disposal, along with about 40 kilogram of explosives that had been extracted by unidentified scrap metal collectors.
On Tuesday morning, the M117 was safely destroyed in Trieu Trach Commune, Trieu Phong District. This weighty undertaking went satisfactory thanks to efforts of two EOD teams under the guidance of National Technical Officer Bui Trong Hong, a People’s Army of Vietnam retired colonel.
Earlier in April, RENEW-NPA teams destroyed a bomb of the same type found in an acacia forest near the famous and historic La Vang Church. It was left behind by unidentified scrap metal collectors. In May, local police arrested two men for their reckless extraction of explosives from an M117 bomb in Quang Tri Town.
Trading in explosives is strictly prohibited by Vietnam law. However, some individuals defy the law and penalties and take personal risks. They continue to search for wartime explosives, because of significant cash income that selling wartime explosives can bring.
The Survey & Clearance Program of RENEW-NPA is funded by the U.S. Department of State and DFID, the UK Department for International Development.
Project RENEW was established in 2001 as a joint effort between the government of Quang Tri Province and interested INGOs to “restore the environment and neutralize the effects of the war” – with the main focus on unexploded ordinance.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) is one of the leading organizations worldwide in humanitarian disarmament. NPA has worked in Vietnam since 2008 following the signing of an MOU with the government of Quang Tri People’s Committee to support the development of Project RENEW’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) capacity. NPA’s operational footprint now covers all of Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue Provinces, with an increase of assets to four Battle Area Clearance teams, one Non-Technical Survey team, four EOD teams, and 25 Technical Survey teams.