Landmines kill 18 in Zimbabwe

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THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has scaled up anti-personnel mines awareness campaigns in Manicaland Province as 18 people have been killed since 2012.

The province still has vast stretches of landmines that were planted by the Smith regime during the liberation struggle which are still to be cleared. Besides killing 18 people, the landmines left 18 more people with various degrees of injuries.

The ongoing exercise seeks to inform people on the steps they should take when they come across landmines and explosive remnants to prevent injuries, loss of life and damage to property.

Speaking during a community awareness campaign at Birchenough Bridge Primary School yesterday, Officer Commanding 3 Engineers Squad, Captain Cephas Muradzikwa said: “Since 2012, records show that 18 people were killed by landmines and explosive remnants of the liberation war, while 14 incurred injuries.

“ZNA has so far held anti-personnel landmine awareness campaigns in more than 10 schools and public institutions in Chimanimani, Nyanga, Chipinge and Buhera districts.”

The three districts are among landmine-infested areas in Zimbabwe and the risk of coming across landmines or explosive remnants of war is very high to people staying there.

Although the ZNA has worked around the clock to ensure the safety of people, animals are still endangered.

He urged people to notify the police, army or chiefs whenever they come across landmines or explosive remnants of war.

“We have had people dying while trying to rescue their fellows who would have been injured by anti-personnel landmines. A very good example is that of three family members in Chipinge who perished one after the other, as they tried to rescue each other in a landmine infested area. These are very dangerous things and they kill, destroy and maim.

“We advise people to report to the army, police or chiefs whenever they come across things that they do not understand.

“Do not touch or use sticks to contact or set fire on landmines because they can explode at once and injure or kill you. We are targeting areas along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border among other areas in Zimbabwe to conscientise people since they are the ones at the risk of coming across these things.

“It is unfortunate that most of the incidents have been attributed to the speculation that red mercury is found in mines. Such beliefs are not true, as there is no red mercury in mines. It is just a myth,” said Cpt Muradzikwa.