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A retrospective non-randomized study, comparing primary repair with colostomy, was made on a series of 102 patients with penetrating intraperitoneal colon injuries, in a war surgery programme in Cambodia. The overall case fatality rate (CFR) was 25.5%, whereas in the primary repair group CFR was 20%, compared to 30.8% in the colostomy group. The difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.30). Adjustment for possible confounding factors in the two groups did not alter the results. Considering the numerous advantages to the patient of a primary closure in the precarious situations where war surgery is often performed, this technique merits consideration.