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Although Mozambique was declared free of land mines in September 2015, residual mines are still killing and maiming.
Over the past week anti-personnel mines have killed four people in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia and injured a child in Maputo province.
Speaking in Maputo on Tuesday, at his weekly press briefing, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Inacio Dina, explained that the four victims in Zambezia were aged between 11 and 25 years old and from the same family.
According to the newspaper “O Pais”, the mine was set off after being disturbed by the group as they hunted for bush rats. Two of the victims died on the spot whilst the others died in hospital.
Local police have cordoned off the site and a search of the area is being undertaken for any more explosive devices.
Meanwhile, in Magude district, in the southern province of Maputo, a twelve year old was seriously injured in the leg by a land mine. Dina explained that the child found the mine whilst looking after the family livestock. The child did not realise what the object was and threw it into the a garbage can, causing it to explode.
In September 2015, Mozambique was declared free of land mines after more than two decades of demining.
Land mines were planted during three conflicts – the colonial war prior to independence in 1975, Rhodesian military aggression in the late 1970s, and during the war of destabilisation waged by the apartheid regime and its surrogates up until 1992. These mines killed tens of thousands of people and seriously injured many more.
Since 2000 about 214,700 land mines have been removed and destroyed. In addition, Mozambique is a signatory to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly known as the Ottawa Convention. To comply with the Ottawa Convention, Mozambique destroyed its stockpile of 37,818 land mines.