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My thanks to Kate Gladstone over on rec.music.filk for the reference.

Aki Ra: Former Khmer Rouge Soldier Disarms Landmines By Hand
By Kathryn Hawkins. Posted on February 21 2010

Aki Ra was barely old enough to walk when he was conscripted into Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge as a child soldier. At the age of five, instead of learning the alphabet, he learned to plant deadly land mines in the ground. As he grew, he became adept at the Khmer Rouge’s deadly guerilla warfare tactics, and planted thousands of explosive-laden mines in the soil. He had no choice in the matter.

“I remember we would have bags on our backs, we could carry sometimes 50, sometimes 100 mines, and we would throw them behind us,” he told the Common Language Project in 2006. “Sometimes the soldiers were so close we couldn’t even bury the mines, we would just put leaves on top and keep going, if we were too slow we would, you know, be shot.”

After the Vietnamese army liberated Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge, Aki Ra, then a teenager, was finally free. But thanks to the work that he and other child soldiers had done on behalf of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia was still far from safe: thousands of active landmines still littered the ground, killing and maiming hundreds of people every year.

Ra regretted what he had done during his time in the Khmer Rouge—and he vowed to spend the rest of his life making it up to his fellow Cambodians. He remembered where he had buried many of the landmines, and knew how to quickly and safely disarm them. So, armed only with a metal detector, a small pocketknife, and several other small tools, he began locating land mines on the ground and disarming them by hand.

Read the rest of the article (follow the link as usual) - he's teaching other people how to do this too! Kate tells me she's also referred this one to Leslie Fish.....