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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid