BY KENNETH NYANGANI
PEOPLE living along the country’s border with Mozambique are still at high risk of stepping on killer landmines planted by the Rhodesian army during the war of liberation, Defence and War Veteran Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri has said.
Speaking early this week during the handover of demined land at Imbeza in Penhalonga to Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba, Muchinguri said most of the landmines lay undetonated and posed a huge threat to communities living along the border with Mozambique.
The anti-personnel mines were planted to deter freedom fighters from entering the country to wage the liberation war.
Hazardous Areas Life Support Organisation (Halo) and Norwegian People’s Aid, in partnership with the government, cleared the area.
“An estimated three million anti-personnel mines were laid in six distinct minefields with a cumulative distance of approximately 850km,” Muchinguri said.
“As such, people who live close to these areas are greatly affected by the mines as they do not enjoy free movement. Their socialisation and communication with relatives across the mined areas is, therefore, greatly inhibited, while access to this mined productive land is also hindered.”
She said the handover came barely a month after a similar event in Rushinga, Mashonaland Central province where Halo Trust is working to demine the border area.