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Halo Trust says the dangerous explosives were left planted more than 33 years ago during the country’s war for independence.
Most landmines were reportedly planted by the colonial Rhodesian Army at the peak of the liberation struggle along Zimbabwe’s northern and eastern borders to prevent anti-colonial soldiers from entering the country from Mozambique and Zambia.
Landmines on Zimbabwe’s northeast border with Mozambique reportedly cover an area of 335km. “Zimbabwe has one of the densest minefields in the world, with about 5,500 landmines per kilometre,” said Halo Trust’s Tom Dibb.
The presence of landmines has always been a headache for the southern African nations as thousands of people have been killed or injured by the explosives, which have also hampered agricultural activities.
Last year, parliament was told that the country was losing millions in potential revenue from tourism, timber and tea plantations as more than 68 square kilometres of prime land was papered with landmines planted during the liberation war in the Eastern Highlands.
Colonel Mkhululi Ncube from the Zimbabwe National Army was quoted saying more than 850km of Zimbabwe’s borders were covered with anti-personnel mines planted by the Rhodesian army to stem the flow of freedom fighters from entering the country from their bases in Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana.
Due to inadequate funding, Zimbabwe is struggling to complete a demining exercise in some parts of the country.
Zimbabwe has been given an extension to complete its demining programme by the end of this year.
An estimated $100m is required to complete landmine clearance in five remaining areas across the country. The US and UK had supported demining by providing demining equipment and training of military engineers, but a fallout between Zimbabwe and those two countries has seen the funding drying up.
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