Minefields of activity [Archives:2006/997/Local News]

November 9 2006

By: Ismael Al-Ghaberi
SANA'A, Nov. 8 ) With a move to enhance security and peace in the region, Yemen now tops the list of countries that expended great efforts in clearing underground mines, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Rashad Al-Alimi.

A national meeting on mine clearing discussed the effort to clear the mines, which put lives of citizens at risk.

During the meeting, Flavia Pansieri, Resident Representative of the UN Development Program, praised successes achieved by the National Mine Clearing Program over the past time period.

Pansieri mentioned the role played by UN and other international organizations in supporting the program, aimed at protecting lives of citizens.

There is still a lot work ahead for the mine clearing programs.

According to National Mine Clearing Program, over 1000 areas are posed to the threat of mines in Yemen. The program released a report saying there are over 900 billion square meters implanted with mines and non-explosive missiles.

Almost one third of the threatened area mines with high threat to nearly 15 villages and housing complexes and another third have mines with medium threat to 86 villages and housing complexes.

According to the report, 14 governorates have benefited from the mine clearing activities, of which Aden, Hodeida and Hajja are now clear of mines.

It said that the area where mines have been cleared accounts for 82 percent of the total over the 14 governorates.

The report added that 410 out of a total number of 478 fields have now been cleared of mines. It stated that mines and non-explosive missiles number 188,924 and 78,827 respectively. These mines and missiles were implanted against soldiers and tanks during different wars in the country.

The National Mine Clearing Program said mines and missiles killed 58 people and injured 35 others, including children and adults between 1992 and 2006 in 42 separate incidents.

Mines in Yemen date back to the second half of the last century and they had been planted over different time periods. Between 1962 and 1967, following the 26 September Revolution, mines were planted in Mareb, Al-Jawf, Sana'a, Hajja, Amran and Sa'ada.

Between1979 and 1983 mines were planted in seven Yemeni governorates: Ibb, Al-Dhale', Al-Beidha, Dhamar, Taiz, Hodeida and Raima. And during the 1994 Civil War many mines were planted in the governorates of Lahj, Abyan, Al-Dhale', Hadramout, Shabwa and Al-Mahra.