Int. Herald Tribune
Landmine abuse is cited

Elizabeth Olson

Paris, Tuesday, September 12, 2000


GENEVA - At least three countries, including Angola, that have signed the global treaty against land mines are continuing to use the killing and maiming devices in violation of international law, foes of land mines said Monday.

The International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, meeting in Geneva for a second annual treaty review by 138 signing nations, named Burundi and Sudan as the two other countries that have signed the three-year-old Ottawa land-mine convention but are violating the terms of the pact.

They are among an estimated 11 governments and more than 30 rebel groups that have used anti-personnel mines since the global pact went into force in March 1999, according to the group's new Land Mine Monitor Report.

Africa saw more use of mines than any other continent, with the devices being employed in eight conflicts during the last year.

In Angola alone, more than 1,000 victims were maimed or killed by mines in 1999. Use of mines is also suspected by Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the survey said.

The greatest use of the devices has been in conflicts in Chechnya and Kosovo, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group said in its 1,100-page survey of the current land-mine use.

Yugoslav forces placed 50,000 land mines during the Kosovo conflict, and the Kosovo Liberation Army also laid mines but in fewer numbers, it found.

Both Russian and Chechen forces also planted mines, the report noted.

The devices were also used by Israel, Burma, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well, it said.

Both Burundi and Sudan have denied using land mines, but a campaign official, Stephen Goose, said: "We have convincing evidence they are being used."



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