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IANSA raises alarm over use of landmines, cluster bombs by Boko haram

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Godsgift Onyedinefu 

The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Women Network has raised alarm over the use of landmines and cluster munition monitors in Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorists, wrecking havoc in parts of the North East Nigeria.

This, it noted, may hamper the global drive to create a landmine free world by 2025.

IANSA President, Ms. Mimidoo Achakpa,  disclosed this on Tuesday at the launch of the 20th Annual Landmine Report in Abuja, which projected Nigeria as one of the countries with the highest armed conflict primarily from non-state groups.

Achakpa who was represented by IANSA Senior Programme Officer, Ms.Hauwa Mohammed,  further stated that a report released by the Mines Advisory Group in September 2018 showed evidence that there was significant use of landmines by Boko haram and it’s splinter groups.

She said: “The armed non-state Boko Haram terrorists have unleashed the use of cluster bombs, landmines and explosive weapons in both military and civilian targets over the years of terrorism. Engineers recently found cache of such weapons in the North East.

“These weapons can be found on roads, foothpaths, farmers’ fields, forests, deserts, along birders, in and surrounding houses and schools and in other places where people carry out their daily Activities during and after conflict.”

Achakpa expressed  worry that civilians mostly children had and is still falling victims to the explosive devices, and has also deprived the rural settlers access to their farmlands for fear of being victims.

She continued: “These weapons deny access to food, water, and other basic needs and inhibit freedom of movement, limiting peoples ability to participate in education or access to medical care.

“Anti-personnel landmines and cluster munition claims victims across the globe each day. When triggered, a landmine unleashes unspeakable destruction, sometimes if the victim does not die from the blast he or she suffers amputation.

“Mine and ERW contamination may also prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced people, and hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid.”

Achakpa  further informed that Nigeria, had in September 2001 joined over 100 countries to sign the Mines Ban Treaty and had in June 2009 signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).

The IANSA Coordinator while noting that the Mines Ban Treaty will solve problems posed by anti-personnel and help eradicate the weapons,  however said that Nigeria had not done much to ratify the treaty.

To this end, she urged the Federal Government to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions through the National Assembly in other to achieve the treaty objectives and launch a landmine and cluster munition monitors across the nation.

She also called for an end to the use of any new anti-personnel landmines and cluster Munitions.

Achakpa pointed out the need to create massive awareness especially in the rural communities on the explosives.

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