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Somalia joins the mine ban club

A small mine, known as a "toepopper", designed to blow a foot off. FFE is the acronym for free from explosives
A small mine, known as a "toepopper", designed to blow a foot off. FFE is the acronym for free from explosives (Guy Oliver/IRIN)

Somalia has become the 160th state member of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. It is the last of the sub-Saharan African countries to commit to the treaty.

With its membership, which took effect on 1 October, Somalia has agreed “to never, under any circumstances, use, produce or transfer anti-personnel mines, to assist the landmine survivors, to destroy its existing stockpile of mines within the next four years, and to demine its territory within 10 [years],” the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit said in a statement.

Somalia has endured decades of civil war. The September 2012 Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor said “Surveys in Bakol, Bay, and Hiraan regions in south central Somalia have revealed that, of the 718 communities in total, approximately one in 10 contained mined areas.”

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) director Kasia Derlicka told IRIN, “We want to see Somalia report on how many stockpiled mines it has, and that it begins destroying them as soon as possible. We also need increased coordination between those already working to clear the land.”

Myanmar officials said in July they were considering banning anti-personnel mines. China, Egypt, India, Israel, Russia and the US are among the states not party to the treaty.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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