1,500 KILLED BY LANDMINES IN ZIMBABWE SINCE END OF INDEPENDENCE WAR IN 1979

Landmines have killed more than 1,550 people as well as injured or maimed an estimated 2,000 others, as well as livestock and game in Zimbabwe since the end of the country’s independence war in 1979, says a government official.

The history of landmines in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the war of liberation which culminated in the attainment of independence in 1980. At the peak of the liberation war from 1976 to 1979, the Rhodesian army under British colonial rule laid landmines along the country’s northern and eastern borders with the aim of inhibiting the movement of freedom fighters into the country from

Mozambique and Zambia respectively.

Speaking at the opening the Zimbabwe National Mine Action Strategic Planning Workshop here Tuesday, the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Denson Muvandi, said an estimated three million anti-personnel mines were laid in distinct minefields with a cumulative distance of approximately 850 kilometres.

“Although most of these minefields were clearly marked, the markings have since been removed by locals, thereby leaving them totally exposed and vulnerable to the danger of being hit by the mines,” he said.

“Most landmines in Zimbabwe were laid along the borders with a few being laid further inland and as such people who leave close to these areas are greatly affected by the mines as they do not enjoy free movement and many other social activities. Their socialization and communication with relatives across the mined areas is therefore greatly affected while access to this productive land is hindered.”

The three-day workshop is being attended by mine action stakeholders working in the country and abroad.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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