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The Secret War, Laos

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Laos - Na Kuan - A component of a bomb found at Van Kham's house. Van Kham, 85, used to be a metal hunter for several years after the end of the war. When he and his family went back to Na Kuan at the end of the conflict, after having spent 7 years in a refugee camp, they found the area littered by mortars and cluster bombs. “Many people died because of those bombs. On average, there were 10 deaths per month after the war” he remembers. Despite the risks, many of the villagers still practice metal hunting, gathering bombs from the woods and dismantling them in order to recycle the metal, which is then sold as scrap. “If I could turn back time, I wouldn't do it again” says Kham. “Too many people died while doing this business”.