Mozambique Declares Country Free of Land Mines Laid in Civil War

The government of Mozambique on Thursday declared the country effectively free of land mines, 23 years after the end of a civil war that left the southern African nation among the most riddled with the deadly devices in the world.

The Halo Trust, among organizations involved in the de-mining, decommissioned more than 171,000 mines, “about 80 percent of all mines destroyed in the last 20 years,” its Mozambique country director Ash Boddy said at a ceremony in Maputo, the capital. The group returned 1,118 former minefields back to use.

The United Nations initially led the de-mining program before handing over to the Mozambican National De-mining Institute in 1999. The campaign was supported by contributions from the governments of the U.K., Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands, according to a Halo Trust statement.

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