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The Duke of Sussex has walked through a partially-cleared minefield in Angola to highlight the threat posed by landmines, 22 years after his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, did the same.
Prince Harry wore body armour as he walked through the ex-artillery base near the south-eastern town of Dirico.
He also set off a controlled explosion to destroy a landmine.
Diana captured global attention in 1997 when she walked through a live minefield in the country.
Landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust, which also accompanied his mother on her Angola visit, showed Prince Harry the site near Dirico.
Anti-government forces mined the area in 2000 when they retreated from the base.
But Halo Trust staff have been working to make the area safe since August and hope to clear it of mines by the end of October.
Prince Harry was given a safety briefing and told not to stray off the cleared lanes, not to touch anything or run.
In a speech, the duke said the Halo Trust was helping the community to “find peace”.
“Landmines are an unhealed scar of war. By clearing the landmines we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity,” he said.
“Additionally, we can protect the diverse and unique wildlife that relies on the beautiful Kuito river that I slept beside last night.”
The prince called for an international effort to clear landmines from the Okavango watershed in the Angolan highlands, where the weapons remain after the end of the country’s civil war.
The conflict, between 1975 and 2002, has left Angola one of the most mined places in the world.
There are two main types of mine: anti-personnel landmines, aimed at killing or injuring people, and anti-tank mines, designed to destroy vehicles.
The random placement of mines became part of military strategy in the 1960s.
About 60 countries and territories are still contaminated with anti-personnel mines.
More than 120,000 people were killed or injured by landmines between 1999-2017, according to research by Landmine Monitor.
Civilians made up 87% of casualties, while nearly half of the victims were children.
Camille Wallen, director of strategy at the Halo Trust, described Prince Harry’s visit as a “really significant moment”.
“As we saw in 1997, Princess Diana really helped raise awareness of the issue of landmines and the plight that people who live with landmines have every day,” she told BBC Breakfast.
“It effectively transformed what we do and it transformed it for those people, they really felt they were being heard.”
Princess Diana’s involvement in the cause involved a call for a global ban on landmines.
Three months after her death in 1997, 122 countries signed the Ottawa Treaty, which prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel mines.
Ms Wallen said Prince Harry’s visit helped “remind the world that landmines are not just a thing of the past”.
“Decades after conflict they continue to threaten people’s lives,” she added.
Later, the prince will visit the former minefield in Huambo, central Angola, where his mother walked in 1997, shortly before she died.
“It’s a completely different place. It’s been completely transformed from scrubland to a bustling community with houses and schools and shops,” said Ms Wallen.
Prince Harry, who is on a tour of southern Africa, visited Botswana on Thursday, where he helped plant trees.
The duke said there was a race against time to stop global warming, adding he was “troubled” by climate-change deniers.
On Wednesday, Prince Harry visited South Africa, where he and the Duchess of Sussex introduced their baby son to the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The couple also met faith leaders at South Africa’s first and oldest mosque and visited a mental health charity.
The duchess told teenage girls in a deprived part of the country she was visiting South Africa not only as a member of the Royal Family, but also “as a woman of colour and as your sister”.
Source: BBC / Euronews
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