Eritrea + 1 more

Eritrea-Ethiopia: Man killed in mine blast

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ADDIS ABABA, 14 February (IRIN) - A man has been killed by a mine in the 25 km buffer zone which separates Ethiopia and Eritrea, the UN said on Friday.
Phil Lewis, who heads the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC), told a weekly news briefing linking Addis Ababa and Asmara, it was possible that mines were being planted within minutes of an explosion.

"It appears that it could be possible that these mines have actually been laid in the middle of the day or in fact only minutes before that particular vehicle comes alone the road," he said. "That is another dimension to the problem for us in trying to keep the roads safe."

Lewis urged the Eritrean government to re-introduce its national mine risk education programme which was halted last August.

The UN's Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) says it has no idea who is planting the new mines, which Lewis said was "terrorising" the local population.

The western sector of the border is the most heavily mined area between the two countries whose bitter two-year border war ended in 2000.

Several hundred thousand mines were laid during the war, but so far UNMEE is unaware how many mines have been removed by both sides.

Lewis said there was no "rhyme nor reason" as to where the mines were being planted, adding that this was making mine clearance even more difficult.

[ENDS]

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