28 February 2016 - The UN Mine Action (UNMAS) recently conducted controlled demolition of mines and unexploded ordnance which were left behind by warring parties in Bentiu and surrounding areas. During the exercise conducted on 13 February and 27 February, UNMAS demolished over 150 kilogrammes of explosive remnants of war including anti-tank mines, rocket propelled grenades and unexploded ordnances.
Seamus McMenamin, the UNMAS Operations Officer in Bentiu, said clearing the dangerous items was aimed at creating a safe living environment for the local population.
He added that the exercise would also help in providing a safe route for delivering humanitarian aid, as well as enabling unfettered mobility of UNMISS in conducting the Mission’s operations.
Mr. McMenamin revealed that unexploded ordnances were left in a number of areas, including schools and around boreholes.
He added that UNMAS is working in the areas around Pariang, Leer, Abiemnhom, Mayom and in Bentiu to remove and destroy landmines and explosive remnants of war.
“Clearance of these items is also essential in allowing the local population to return to the areas now that the Peace agreement has been signed,” he said.
“Unfortunately, there have been number of accidents in Leer where some children have been injured,” he said. “We (need) to make sure that no more of these accidents occur and that people are safe in their locations.”
The UNMAS official said his organization would continue to liaise with and educate the local population, identify any hazards and remove them before people are hurt or injured.