War landmines have killed 1 550, says Zim minister

2015-08-13 22:03
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Cape Town – Zimbabwe’s defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi has reportedly revealed that liberation war landmines have to date killed at least 1 550 civilians.

According to reports, the landmines in Zimbabwe were laid in the 1970s during former prime minister Ian Smith’s regime.

Thirty-five years after attaining independence, Zimbabwe is still carrying out demining activities.

According to a New Zimbabwe.com report, over 2 000 people have also been injured, with the majority permanently disabled.

Sekeramayi said most of these minefields were clearly marked but the markings had since vanished, leaving the locals exposed to the danger of walking in the minefields.

Sekeramayi said the Zimbabwe National Army's demining squadron was in the process of coming up with a second demining team to beef up the clearance of the mines along the borders.

He said government was committed to clear all landmines to meet the 2025 deadline. 

Meanwhile, a Tanzanian charity said recently that it was in the final stages of agreeing to a deal with Zimbabwe to export its world-renowned rats to the southern African country to help sniff out landmines.

The rats have been taught to detect explosives.

Watch the video below.

This comes after Burma in the country's Manicaland province was declared landmine impact-free a few weeks ago after more than two years of mine clearance work by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), with funding support from the United Sates and Norwegian governments.

A statement posted on the US embassy website in Harare, said the area was handed over to local communities in July.

The local community has already started using the land and will be undertaking income-generating activities such as banana growing and livestock rearing in the newly cleared area, the statement said.

"The United States is very pleased that local people will improve their livelihoods and that the entire community will be safer as a result of donor-funded humanitarian demining activities," US Embassy Counsellor for Public Affairs Karen Kelley, was quoted as saying.  

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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