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Calls for international support to help rid Angola of landmines

Disarming an anti-personnel landmine in Iraq (MAG)Disarming an anti-personnel landmine in Iraq (MAG)Visiting Cirico, Angola, in late September 2019, Prince Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, made a plea for international support to help with a project to clear landmines from a region of southeastern Angola. He stood on the same spot where 22 years ago his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, walked through a partially-cleared minefield, thus giving the global campaign to ban landmines a major boost. Diana's actions led to the 1997 Ottawa Treaty, later to be signed by 164 countries, which prohibits the use of anti-personnel landmines.

 
An anti-personnel landmine (Reedhawk)An anti-personnel landmine (Reedhawk)

Landmines

A landmine is an explosive device placed on the ground and hidden by leaves or rocks, or buried just under the soil. It is detonated automatically by when someone steps on it or drives over it. There are two main types: anti-tank mines, designed to destroy heavy vehicles and anti-personnel landmines, which are designed to inflict serious injuries on people. 

 Minefield in the Golan Heights, Israel-Syria... Minefield in the Golan Heights, Israel-Syria...

Mines were first used in World War I, but they became particularly widely used in conflicts around the world from the 1960s onwards. Troops lay anti-personnel mines in minefields, in order to create a defensive barrier against enemy attacks. The problem is that, years after conflicts have ended, the landmines remain in the ground in many places. Because their exact positions are not known, they pose a serious threat to the safety of people who live there. The minefields also cannot be used for growing crops or raising livestock.  

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