31 January 2019
Last week, ICBL Member, Rede para Asistencia as Vitimas de Minas or RAVIM (Landmine Survivors Assistance Network in English) in Mozambique reported a young man was severely injured by an explosive device while working on a farm with his family in Inhambane Province.
The 16 year old student suffered the loss of one eye and other major injuries that will affect him for the remainder of his life. The terrible accident is a stark reminder of the suffering caused by explosive devices and remnants of war (ERW), years after conflict ends.
Mozambique, a country heavily affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war following a brutal civil war, officially declared its territory landmine free in 2015, and was widely recognized by the international community for this herculean effort. Mozambique reported in 2017 four small areas suspected to contain antipersonnel mines which were submerged under water, and pledged to monitor and clear the areas as soon as dry access was possible. The country also reported residual ERW contamination.
"This tragic accident highlights the crucial need to fund mine-risk education and ongoing assistance to victims in countries cleared of landmines, as well as those working to achieve this goal by 2025," said RAVIM Director, Luis Wamusse. "Educating young people on the danger of residual ERW is particularly important given their lack of knowledge and their natural curiosity," he added. RAVIM was founded in 2005 by two landmine survivors, and has remained the only Mozambican organization dedicated to providing support to the country’s many survivors.