IS ji­hadists be­hind land­mine crisis in Syria, Iraq

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

LON­DON: Twenty years af­ter Princess Diana’s iconic visit to a mine­field in An­gola, the world faces a new land­mine crisis in Syria and Iraq on a scale not seen for decades, cam­paign­ers said yes­ter­day.

The Mines Ad­vi­sory Group said yes­ter­day it had cleared and de­stroyed more than 9 000 newly laid land­mines in both coun­tries in the past six months in ar­eas for­merly oc­cu­pied by the Is­lamic State ji­hadists.

Jane Cock­ing, the group’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said at least $100mil­lion (R1.3bil­lion) of ad­di­tional fund­ing will be needed per year to tackle both newly laid land mines and those still in the soil from pre­vi­ous con­flicts in more than 60 coun­tries.

“The prob­lem is that we’re see­ing the emer­gence of a new crisis on a scale that we haven’t seen since the 1990s, and to deal with that as well re­quires sub­stan­tially more money,” Cock­ing told the Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion.

It is hard to gauge the scale of the prob­lem, she said, but judg­ing by the num­ber of mines al­ready cleared, Is­lamic State has pro­duced im­pro­vised land­mines on an “in­dus­trial scale”.

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