Malcolm Turnbull

Australian dead, 1 hurt in Cambodia blast

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen offered his condolences to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (AAP)

An Australian has been killed and another wounded in an explosion at a shooting range on an army base in Cambodia.

An Australian man killed by a blast on a shooting range at a Cambodian army base was reportedly there as a tourist to fire weapons, and was not a military trainer as officials first declared.

A Cambodian soldier was also killed by the explosion while a second Australian man and two other soldiers were injured in Thursday's blast at the base in Kampong Speu, 50km from the capital Phnom Penh.

Cambodian police have said the dead Australian was aged 45 and the injured man was 41.

Initial reports from Cambodian military, police and provincial officials said the Australians were military trainers assisting soldiers at the Kampong Speu Armoured Headquarters when a landmine exploded.

But Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said on Friday the incident was not part of a military training exercise, nor were there any Australian Defence Force personnel involved.

The ABC reports the Australians were "likely tourists visiting a shooting range run by the Cambodian military for profit".

The broadcaster said the shooting range is well-known among tourists who pay to shoot AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) as well as throw hand grenades.

The shooting range, along with several others in the Phnom Penh area, are featured on internet websites showing images of Western tourists firing weapons.

Soldiers at the Kampong Speu base told the ABC they were ordered not to speak to media because allowing foreigners onto the range to fire weapons was illegal.

On Friday Cambodian Defence Ministry spokesman General Chhum Socheat clarified that the two Australians went to the base after being invited by Cambodian soldiers.

"We did not invite them to train our soldiers but they just visited their friends. But once they saw the mine, they picked it up and played with it before it exploded," AP reported him as saying.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday offered his condolences to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the Australian's death, during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of an Association of South-East Asian Nations special leaders' summit in Sydney.

A spokesperson for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said the department was providing consular assistance to the families of the Australian man killed and the Australian injured.

"Due to privacy obligations we are unable to provide further information," they said.

Kampong Speu Provincial Hospital health department director O Van Then said the three injured people had received "light injuries" to their hands.

"The body of the Cambodian soldier has already been taken out by family while the Australian body is still at the hospital waiting to be taken by the Australian embassy," Vann Then said.

Around 60,000 Cambodians have been killed or wounded by mines since they were first deployed in large numbers in 1979, when the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime was ousted from power and began 18 years of guerrilla warfare.

with AP

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