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.