Juba — More than 24 schools in South Sudan's Unity state successfully underwent a mine awareness campaign conducted by a locally-based non-governmental body.
The initiative, which was undertaken by Home of Grace and Strength (HOGAS, saw dozens of teachers, community representatives and peer group leaders trained.
Unity state is one of the regions now facing the brunt of the over two-decade north-south Sudan civil war that left nearly 2.5 million people dead and over 4 million displaced. The existence of unexploded mines in various parts of the region also poses a huge risk to citizens.
Francis Kabui, the program coordinator for HOGAS said the risk of landmines mainly among children prompted the organisation to step up awareness campaigns in the region.
"Our program targets mainly target children because these are group of people who in the category of risk takers [and] it happen because they are [usually] not aware", said Kabui.
Areas within the capital, Bentiu and nearby counties have the highest presence of both landmines and unexploded ordinances (UXOs), he added.
At least two boys, according to HOGAS, were killed this year when a mine exploded in Bentiu town.
Kabui, however, said their activities have been hampered by floods from heavy rains, mainly in Nyuenypiu, which has lots of explosives.
"The explosive remnants of war, which are within Nyuenypiu area, have not been removed because of the weather conditions due to this flooding [and] it is not possible for them to be removed", he told Sudan Tribune.
Even the demining groups are waiting until maybe the water [levels] decrease so [that] they can come and remove them, he stressed.
James Ran Biel, a pupil of Good Hope basic school said he was now aware warning signs on any existing landmine in surrounding areas.
"So we learned how to keep away and not to pass beyond the signs. When you see the signs, do respect the signs [and] by respecting the signs [it] means when you see the signs, do not remove or go beyond it", said Biel.
The pupil, however, vowed to enlighten his fellow peers on the dangers of UXOs and advise against unused roads in their locations.
Meanwhile, the headmaster of Lich primary school said mine risk education program has been incorporated in the school curriculum.
"Mines are very dangerous. You are supposed to protect the young children from the sharp objects. If you see anything which is not good for him [or her], tell them not to go for it", said Martin Nger Gai.
He further urged parents and teachers in schools and homes to educate children on the dangers of mines and UXOs.
Last year, officials say, at least 10 mine explosion cases were witnessed in Unity state's Mayom county, which experienced armed rebellion in 2010.