Landmine Report Rare New Uses But Continued High Casualties
An international landmine watchdog says new uses of the weapon are "extremely rare" but that fighting in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen has led to a second consecutive year of high casualties.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines said in an annual report Thursday there were 8,605 casualties, including 2,089 deaths, from mines in 2016. That includes improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance that are triggered like mines.
Of those casualties, 78 percent were civilians, and the total included the most child casualties ever recorded. They took place in 52 countries.
Under a 1999 international treaty, countries agree to not use or produce antipersonnel mines, destroy their existing stockpiles, provide assistance to mine victims and clear their territory of mines within 10 years of joining the pact.
On Wednesday, the ICBL welcomed Sri Lanka as the 163rd country to be fully bound by the treaty and said it hopes others in the region will join as well.
Thursday's report said Myanmar and Syria had the only government forces that actively planted mines during the past year. Neither is a party to the mine ban treaty.
Several Dead in Apparent Terrorist Attack in Somalia Capital
Several people are dead after a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the main police training facility in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, Thursday.
The attack happened as police were rehearsing a parade at General Kahiye Police Academy. Officials say the attacker entered the facility disguised as a policeman.
Reuters news agency says 13 people were killed in the bombing, but officials have yet to give an exact number of casualties. It says the militant Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack.
Al-Shabab controlled Mogadishu until 2011, when it was driven out by African Union peacekeepers and Somali security forces. The group has been active in Somalia trying to overthrow the government and install a strict form of Islam. It has deployed bomb attacks against government, military and civilian targets.