Angola: Funds Secured for Angola Landmine Clearing Exercise

Luanda — ANGOLA has invested US$60 million to clear hundreds of minefields planted during the 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

This is part of a new conservation initiative between the government and charity organisations.

However, an additional $60 million is required to clear all the remaining minefields.

Angola's investment over five years will fund clearance of 153 minefields in the southeastern province of Cuando Cubango, inside the Mavinga and Luengue-Luiana National Parks.

Mavinga and Luengue-Luiana are important parts of the Kavango Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area, which is the globe's largest conservation area.

It spans Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"Angola has committed to remove landmines from the parks so that wildlife can be conserved and economic development can thrive using the best models of sustainable tourism," Paula Coelho, Minister for the Environment, assured.

Landmine clearance charity is spearheading the project.

It has been working in Angola since 1994, during which time it has destroyed more than 95 000 landmines and cleared 840 minefields.

An estimated 1 155 minefields remain to be cleared in Angola, equal to a total mined area of 121 km2.

The explosives are a legacy of a civil war that began in 1975 when the former Portuguese colony secured independence.

It was a power struggle between former liberation movements, the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

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