By Anastasia Moloney
BOGOTA, Feb 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Colombia, one of the most mined countries in the world, aims to remove all landmines and other explosives by 2021 after the government and FARC rebels signed a peace deal last year, a top government official has said.
Colombia's left-wing guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), planted thousands of landmines across swathes of the country during its five-decade war against the government.
"Forty percent of the areas that were covered in landmines for the past 25 years are now being cleared to reach the goal of having a Colombia free of anti-personnel mines by 2021," Rafael Pardo, the government's post-conflict commissioner, told local media on Monday.
After Afghanistan, Colombia has the second highest number of landmine casualties, with more than 11,500 people killed or injured by landmines since 1990, government figures show.
The FARC rebels planted homemade mines in mostly rural areas, using empty glass bottles of rum, coffee and tuna cans, and plastic tubes filled with sulphuric acid.
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