Police in the central province of Quang Tri, which remains riddled with unexploded wartime ordnances, said on Tuesday that they had arrested six people involved in the attempted sale of a 300 kg live bomb.
Officers in Vinh Linh District were on patrol late on Monday when they stopped a man on a motorbike carrying a cylinder-shaped object concealed under a sheet of cloth.
The police asked to check the suspicious cargo and found the object to be a M177 bomb whose fuse remained intact.
The American-made bomb weighs around 300kg and contains some 185kg explosive matter.
The man, 39-year-old Le Van Ty, confessed that he had unearthed the bomb from a local rubber forest and was transporting it for sale when apprehended by officers.
Ty’s confession also led to the arrest of five other people, according to Quang Tri police.
In Vietnam, many risk their lives to dismantle unexploded bombs for scrap metal and gunpowder.
In mid-April, Quang Tri authorities stopped a group of scrap-metal collectors as they were attempting to cut open a 230kg bomb.
Most unexploded ordnances in Quang Tri were dropped there more than forty years ago during the American war in Vietnam.
Fifty thousand Vietnamese civilians have since lost their lives and more than 60,000 others have been injured in accidents related to unexploded ordnances across the country.
According to statistics, unexploded ordnances exist in all 63 provinces and municipalities of Vietnam, with the most heavily affected areas being Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Thua Thien – Hue, Da Nang, Quang Ngai, Hai Duong, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Ca Mau, Soc Trang, and Dong Thap.
Approximately 6.1 million hectares of mainland Vietnam still contain explosive remnants, with the cost of their safe removal estimated to be millions of U.S. dollars.