Foni landmine campaign on the roll (Gambia)
Mine risk reduction education is conducted to make people aware of the dangers associated with landmines especially in areas around The Gambia that border the region of Cassamance.
A land mine is an explosive device that is placed under or near the ground or other surface areas and is designed to be activated by the presence, proximity or contact of the victim.
The Nova Scotia Gambia Association in collaboration with UNICEF and the Gambia Armed Forces through the government of The Gambia are currently on a one-month intensive mine risk reduction education campaign within the villages in Foni, which are close to the border with Cassamance.
Lieutenant Omar Saidykhan, a senior Gambia Armed Force officer who is attached to the campaign team outlined the dangers associated with landmines at Kanuma Village, Foni Bintang Karanai District last Saturday.
According to him, mines are likely to be found in areas around confrontation lines, strategic areas and along borderlines as well as military positions and disused positions and routes, especially gravel and dirt roads.
The GAF mine expert further revealed that mines are categorised into anti-personnel and anti-tank or vehicle mines. Anti-personnel mines, Lieutenant Saidykhan said, are mines that are designed for use against people ad are sub-divided into blast mines, fragmentation mines, directional fragmentation mines and bounding fragmentation mines.
Regarding anti-tank or vehicle mines, he said those are designed to be used against armoured tanks and vehicles and are divided into anti-tank or vehicle blast and anti-tank or vehicle shaped charges.
He urged parents to stop their children from entering areas where landmines are normally buried, especially in the Cassamance border regions. He told the people of Kanuma not to touch anything that they see in the bush which they do not understand. According to him, when a mine explosion occurs, one should not rush to the scene to offer help as more mines could be buried there.
Lamin Gibba, project manager of the landmine risk reduction campaign said the campaign commenced in October 30 and will end in December. According to him, since the beginning of the campaign, there have been large turnouts in the visited villages. He thanked the people of Kanuma for responding to their call and urged them to share the knowledge gained with others.
Sulayman Tamba, Alkalo of Kanuma, described the campaign as a step in the right direction.
Von: 11.11.2008, by Amadou Jallow, www.wow.gm