19 July 2005 – Six years after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove Yugoslav troops out of Kosovo amid ethnic fighting between Albanians and Serbs, unexploded mines are still claiming victims in the United Nation-administered province and continued donor funding is needed for clearance operations.
Repeating warnings from the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) to the public not to go into areas marked with tape or mine signs or approach suspicious objects, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) noted today that so far this year two people had been killed and seven seriously injured in such accidents.
Since April when de-mining activities resumed, over 1,200 mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) have been located and destroyed, and over 2 million square metres of land cleared.
Last year, one person was killed and 13 seriously injured in 11 accidents, over 4,000 items of mines and UXO were located and destroyed and over 4 million square metres of land cleared.
Continued donor funding is needed for the on-going operations of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and training of KPC teams, which together have some 250 people involved in the day-to-day clearance of mines and UXO, UNMIK said.
The NGOs active in Kosovo are the Halo Trust, Handicap International and the Mines Awareness Trust.