87pc wartime landmines removed

So far 87 percent of all wartime landmines have been removed and the Government hopes to have the last out by 2025, Minister of Defence Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told her Ministry’s strategic planning workshop being held in Mutare this week.

“We are going ahead with the removal of landmines countrywide and aiming at making Zimbabwe landmine-free by 2025,” she said.

“We hope that this will save lives and also enable development initiatives to go ahead unhindered in the affected areas.

“I want also to mention that 87 percent of all and mines across the country have been removed. These mines were dotted here in Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland North.

“As I speak, we only have 13 percent remaining. We remain determined that we clear all these mines. People living in the affected areas live in fear until we successfully address the problem.”

The illegal Rhodesian regime laid huge minefields along borders in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to halt movement of liberation forces.

Almost all the mines are anti-personnel mines laid with no precise mapping, so large areas have to be marked off as unsafe and mine-clearance teams have to risk their lives to remove each mine individually.

Mines and unexploded ordnance are a terrible legacy of war, long after the guns have fallen silent. Hidden from sight, land mines continue to kill and injure innocent civilians going about their daily lives, especially children.

Their very presence hinders development and prevents families and communities from being able to return to their land and rebuild.

Landmines have maimed and killed more than 1 500 Zimbabweans and 120 000 livestock since independence.

Communities near the minefields live in fear, have limited access to critical resources and basic services, and struggle to derive economic value from what would ordinarily constitute productive land.

The cost of mine clearance, victim assistance, and mine risk education weigh heavily on nation-building efforts in post-conflict states saddled with other competing priorities.

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri commended the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for its role in maintaining peace within the country, regionally and internationally.

“ZDF has contributed immensely to the maintenance of peace and tranquillity within the country, regionally and internationally,” she said.

“This is further evidenced by our presence in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I urge all those here to come up with strategic interventions that will help meet our targets under NDS1 and ultimately the Vision 2030 that of making the country an upper middle class economy.”


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