News / Africa

Children Are Main Victims of Leftover Munitions in Mali

 Local resident Issa Dembele stands next to munitions, believed to belong to Islamist rebels, stockpiled in the courtyard of his house in Diabaly, Mali, Jan. 23, 2013. Local resident Issa Dembele stands next to munitions, believed to belong to Islamist rebels, stockpiled in the courtyard of his house in Diabaly, Mali, Jan. 23, 2013.
x
 Local resident Issa Dembele stands next to munitions, believed to belong to Islamist rebels, stockpiled in the courtyard of his house in Diabaly, Mali, Jan. 23, 2013.
Local resident Issa Dembele stands next to munitions, believed to belong to Islamist rebels, stockpiled in the courtyard of his house in Diabaly, Mali, Jan. 23, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
— The U.N. Children's Fund is warning that leftover munitions in Mali are threatening the civilian population, especially children. UNICEF says central and northern Mali are most heavily contaminated by unexploded remnants of war.  

The U.N. Children's Fund reports 60 people have been victims of explosive remnants of war - two-thirds of them children - during the past 11 months. Five children and two adults have been killed.

UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado notes these are only preliminary figures, however, and says the actual number of people killed and maimed by these weapons is presumed to be much higher. UNICEF estimated in December at least 100,000 children and parents were at risk in Mali.

"This estimate was made before the military intervention, which has involved air strikes and ground operations since January. We now estimate that approximately 200,000 children in conflict-affected areas of central and northern Mali are now at risk of injury or death due to explosive remnants of war," said Mercado.

French forces invaded northern Mali in January to help oust Islamist militants from the region's major cities and towns. Thousands of soldiers from African countries have since deployed to help keep the rebels at bay. France has indicated it will begin withdrawing its troops from the area next month.

The U.N. Mine Action Service reports large quantities of explosive remnants of war have been left behind.  

UNMAS acting senior liaison officer in Geneva, Gustavo Laurie, said the remnants include unexploded and abandoned ammunition, such as artillery shells, mortars, rockets, grenades, bullets, and aircraft bombs.  

He said the highest concentration of these weapons is likely to be found in Diabaly, Douentza, Konna and Gao.

"Since January this year, we are established in Bamako in order to ensure coordination of all actors involved in mine action. Mine action involves mine risk education. And, also involves the final disposal of the explosive remnants of war," he said.

Laurie said deployment for emergency clearance has begun in the city of Konna in central Mali, and that other places will follow.

UNICEF says children are particularly vulnerable to unexploded ordnance, because grenades and other devices look like toys and the children pick them up.  

To protect civilians from the explosive threat, UNICEF and its partners are planning to step up mine-risk education activities, including life-saving radio messages in five languages. The campaign primarily aims to make 400,000 people aware of the risks who are living in conflict-affected areas of Northern Mali.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid