Nepal to be "landmine-free" country soon

14:31, June 10, 2011      

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Nepal will be a landmine-free country next week, local media reported on Friday.

Officials said they will clear the last remaining anti- personnel landmines planted in Phulchowki, Lalitpur in Kathmandu Valley, on June 14.

The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and the United Nations Mine Action Team (Unmat) organized a "special field program" to observe the demining operations to be conducted by a trained squad of Nepal Army.

The Army had laid mines at 53 locations during the 10-year insurgency period, out of which 52 have been successfully cleared.

According to The Kathmandu Post, after the Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal ( Maoist) (UCPN-M), the government had urged both the warring parties to submit their "explosives data" within 30 days and clear them within 60 days.

"However, we had thought of a plan much ambitious. At least we are going to be minefields-free and that's a big achievement and have thus fulfilled our commitment," Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Shaligram Sharma, was quoted by the daily as saying.

The ministry had sought UN's help in the year 2007 for demining programs and Unmat is actively working in clearing the minefields ever since.

Unmat will, however, complete the program within this year. According to the data compiled by the Informal Sector Service Center (Insec) between Jan 1, 2006 and June 1, 2011, four persons were killed and 19 injured in mine incidents.

Once the demining is over, the cleared land will be handed over to local authorities if the NA decides to part with the plot. Besides landmines, both the NA and the UCPN-M had used Improvised Explosive Device (IED) during the insurgency.

However, only the NA was able to provide the details of the IEDs planted. Of the 275 sites where the NA had planted the IEDs, 170 have already been cleared. During the same period in 2006 to 2011, 78 persons were killed and 395 others injured in IED related incidents, according to the Insec.

Source: Xinhua
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