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African Leaders Condemn Ongoing Use of Cluster Bombs

A boy holds unexploded cluster bombs after jet shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Meyasar district of Aleppo February 21, 2013.
Thirty-six African countries have formally condemned the use of cluster bombs and urged all of Africa to join a global ban on the deadly weapons.

Delegates at a conference in Lome, Togo say they are gravely concerned about the ongoing use of cluster munitions and the mounting number of victims, including women and children.

They say 14 African countries have a cluster bomb problem, either because of the use of the weapons or numerous unexploded ordnance. They say the bombs were most recently used last year in South Sudan.

The delegates are urging the 12 African governments who have not yet joined the global Convention on Cluster Munitions to sign the treaty.

Cluster bombs are weapons that scatter many smaller bombs across a wide area. The small bombs often fail to explode and attract children who mistake them for toys. Farmers working their land are also frequently hurt by unexploded bombs.