Monday, February 4, 2008


Villagers renew call for relocation of shooting range


The residents here have proposed that the related authority should consider relocating the army shooting range at Camp Paradise away from the villages following the death of another local man who was killed while dismantling an old mortar he collected from the shooting range last week. Kampung Bangkahak Sum-Sum Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) secretary Jackson Adam. said the camp posed a danger to the local people, especially. those from low-income group who made extra income by - collecting and selling leftover bombs as scrap metals. He urged the military to consider the fact that their shooting range is not just located too close to the village but not fenced as well, inviting villagers to trespass and collect scrap metals which sometimes could be live mortars. The absence of fencing to separate the training zone from the nearby villages also causes live stocks to often wander and graze at the open field, he said. According to Jackson, the shooting range located just about a kilometer from their village, is actually situated on a piece of land that belongs to villagers which have yet to be compensated. He said the army expanded its camp in 1979 to develop the shooting range for training purposes. Jackson said the village, with some 1,000 population who mostly earn their living through farming, had appealed several times to the authorities to relocate the training ground but the request was never answered. In the latest incident last week, a 70-year-old man was blown into pieces after a mortar he was trying to dismantle exploded. The victim, identified as Sangkor Birang, had allegedly brought home several active bombs, which. police believed were taken from the Camp Paradise shooting range the same day. Acting District Police Chief DSP Mohan Nadasen said the victim was last seen taking a sack, believed containing the bomb, plus two others, into a bathroom; which is located outside the house, before it exploded. His remains, from the abdomen to right leg, were found on the house roof, about 40 metres from the bathroom. The explosion also damaged Sangkor’s house. His 24-year-old daughter and four-month-old grandson who were inside the house when the mortar detonated, escaped unhurt. Mohan said they had conducted numerous talks with the villagers to stop them from trespassing into the camp area. A similar incident occurred on March 14 two years ago, killing a man and his son and seriously injuring two other children.