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Nepal: UN Bomb Disposal Experts To Resume

Published: Thu 11 Dec 2008 02:44 PM
UN Bomb Disposal Experts To Resume Clearing Explosives In Nepal
The Nepalese army has recommended a resumption of its minefield clearance operation, which it conducts with the assistance of the United Nations Mine Action Team, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.
Five minefields had been cleared in the Himalayan nation this year before the monsoon season forced a five-month break in the demining process, leaving 48 military minefields as well as a number of fields consisting of improvised explosives still to be swept.
Mines in Jaalbhanjyang, laid on a steep hillside to protect a strategic telecommunications tower during the decade-long civil war, have already claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy and injured a deminer.
Once the minefields have been cleared, 150 local people will be able to use the land for grazing cattle and have access to the local temple, which is next to the tower.
“The Nepalese army understands the need to clear the minefields for both humanitarian reasons, and as required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Agreement on Monitoring the Management of Arms and Armies,” said UN Mine Action Team Programme Manager in Nepal, Stephen Robinson.
The army is developing mine clearance skills and expertise, said Mr. Robinson, adding that it can potentially “apply these skills to benefit the international community by deploying as United Nations deminers in other mine-afflicted countries, such as Sudan.”
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working with the Ministry of Education to include mine risk education into classroom teaching.
ENDS

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