Two-thirds of victims of left-over munitions in Mali are children

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UNMAS Mali is training and working with local Malian military and police to clear landmines and unexploded ordinance in the northern part of the country. Photo: UNMAS/Marc Vaillant

Two out of three of those killed or injured by left-over ammunition and explosive devices in conflict-affected areas of Central and Northern Mali are children, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. It's thought that around 200,000 children in the region are at risk from unexploded ordnance. Since April last year, 53 people have been injured by ammunition and explosive devices in the region, including 38 children and 15 adults. Seven have been killed, including 5 children and 2 adults.

Gustavo Laurie from the UN Mine Acion Service, UNMAS, says that the highest concentration of explosive remnants of war or ERWs, is likely to be found in areas where heavy fighting took place such as in Diabaly, Douentza, Konna and Gao.

"According to UNMAS preliminary reports, it is expected to find a large amount of explosive remnants of war in Mali coming from different kinds of weapons such as mortars, shells, rockets, grenades, bullets and aircraft bombs."

UNICEF has already started trying to raise awareness of the threat of unexploded ordnance in schools, markets and workplaces. It hopes to reach around 400,000 people this year.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva

Duration: 1’19″

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