Egypt Leads Africa in Landmines
Participants in a seminar preparing for the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries have revealed in Dar Es Salaam that Egypt leads Africa in the number of landmines, Panafrican News Agency (PANA) reported.
At least 53.6 million landmines are currently on the Africa continent. It was stated that about 13 African countries were facing landmine problems following armed conflicts, said the agency.
Participants said Egypt alone has an estimated 23 million land mines.
In addition, the workshop held on Wednesday named the other countries with landmines as Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Eritrea, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Chad. Also on the list were Zimbabwe, Uganda, Sudan and Somalia.
A consultant from African International Group of Political Risk Analysis (PORIS), Prince Bagenda, said about 15 African countries had consented to be bound by the Mine Ban Treaty.
The next Third United Nations Conference on LDCs is to be held in Brussels Belgium on May 10.
Egypt's problem stems from the fact that its landmines are old and hard to locate, and were designed for use against tanks, whereas international criticism is generally focused on anti-personnel mines, previous reports have said.
According to Egypt’s Ministry of Defense, mines have hampered human and economic development, and have killed or injured thousands of civilians.
Egypt's western desert, scene of one of the major Second World War battles, El Alamein, was littered with 20 million mines by the German and British armies.
Egypt and Israel have mounted joint efforts to remove more than 6 million mines planted in the Sinai desert and the region of the Gulf of Suez during the wars in 1967 and 1973.
Military analysts have said that storms have increased the depth at which many land mines are buried by eight meters, thus ruling out the use of normal mine-detection methods – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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