KAMAL RAJ SIGDEL, PYUTHAN, Feb 19 - In what appears to be a successful story for the world to replicate,
As of Wednesday, Army teams assisted by UN Mine Action Team (UNMAT) have cleared 23 out of a total of 53 minefields. An UNMAT-hired team destroyed all 52,000 explosives and dangerous items stored in different Maoist cantonments some two months ago.
On Thursday, three specially trained Nepal Army platoons deployed in Pyuthan (Mid West), Rammechhap (Central Region) and Banke (Mid West) demolished some of the final explosives in the minefield in the districts.
UN experts involved in demining in
International experience shows that demining is very expensive. For instance,
Instead of hiring international companies, the UN helped train Army teams to take up the job, which not only saved money but also helped transfer valuable technical know-how to Nepali experts.
“NA’s successful involvement in demining here has not only contributed to the overall peace process but also proved that NA has gained the capacity to contribute to global peace efforts by carrying out similar works on UN call anywhere in the world,” says Col. Ramesh Pun, who heads the NA’s Mine Action Coordination Centre.
With UNMAT assistance, NA has developed three demining platoons comprising 129 soldiers, who were trained in
UN support to mine action will phase out over the next one and a half years in sync with the completion of final minefields. “Once the minefields are cleared, the Army supported by other sectors of the government, will address any residual threats from the remaining IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices),” Says Robinson. Statistics show that IEDs have been behind 90 percent of the casualties in
Still, the threats remain. While NA claims to have left behind no IED of the decade-long insurgency, the Maoists concede that their fighters have left IEDs in the thousands while they were engaged in guerrilla war and frequently changed locations. There seems to be little record of the locations and the IEDs left behind.
“This is the only threat that will remain. If the concerned parties give us information, we are ready to clean them up,” says Robinson. (The