Landmines haunt Zimbabwe 45 years after war


APOPO demining

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – LANDMINES remain a crisis in Zimbabwe almost 45 years since the end of the liberation war.

The non-governmental Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development (also known as APOPO), disclosed it last year (2023) cleared a total of 244 731 square metres of land previously contaminated with landmines.

The area cleared is along the border with Mozambique, a country which combatants crossed to for training and citizens sought refuge during the war between 1964 and 1979.

During this period, Rhodesian Security Forces deployed millions of landmines to secure the border with Mozambique.

The Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre estimates there are 34,1 million square metres of land still contaminated with mines.

In 2023, a total of 4 348 landmines and booster charges were neutralized, mitigating immediate threats to the lives of local residents and wildlife.

More than 244 000 square metres of land were returned to communities, paving the way for economic development, agriculture and eco-tourism opportunities.

Of this total road clearance accounted for 73 097 square metres, and manual clearance of minefields totalled 173 725 square metres.

APOPO said it remained committed to achieving a mine-free Zimbabwe by 2025 in line with government objectives.

“While this target is challenging, our ongoing efforts in the country are intended to meet it while expanding the impact of our work, ensuring the safety of more communities and contributing to the preservation of Zimbabwe’s rich biodiversity.”

APOPO believes its work in Zimbabwe in 2023 is a great example of a strategic and impactful approach to overcoming the challenges posed by landmines.

“Through collaboration with international partners and a focus on both human and environmental safety, APOPO is paving the way for a safer, more prosperous future for Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980.

– CAJ News

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