UNMAS in Abyei cautions public against touching strange objects

Land mines

Following the a recent hand grenade explosion in Agok in which 3 children sustained minor injuries, the United Nations Mine Action Service in Abyei has warned people against touching strange objects.

In an interview with Abyei FM on Monday, UNMAS’ Programme Manager, Mr. Nico Bosman says staying away from objects you cannot recognize is the best way to protect yourself from any harm.   

” You know if you see something that you can’t recognize, leave it alone and absolutely report it – that is number one and that reporting speak to your parents, your parents speak to community leaders, speak to your community police or normal police, we have got UNPOL here. There is a real channel here that is working here to make sure that we feed information because the quicker we can get information the quicker we can respond to it in the end of the day. And secondly, when you have seen something, warn others that, you know please that I have seen something – stay away. And if you can educate, put something as we taught you to mark the item and we will respond within the same day,” said Bosman.

Bosman, who is leading mine awareness programme in Abyei warned that explosive ordinances can kill, adding that  getting rid of them is a collective responsibility.

Since the Mission started its work in 2011, 4 UN peacekeepers were killed and 7 others injured after anti-tank landmine exploded on the road to Marial-Achak in Rumamer County. 

According to Bosman,  4229 Unexploded Ordinances (UXOs) including anti-tank land mines have so far been removed in Abyei. 

For her part, the UNMAS’ Coordinator says their staff conduct mine awareness training. Mrs. Muhindo Rose says posters featuring photos of different explosive ordinances are being displayed for community members to be able to recognize the explosive devices.

 “We try to tell them or to show them how they can recognize these explosive ordinances especially the mine, sometimes we call them UXOS. So, we use various techniques and materials, among them are posters with photos with mine and other explosive ordinances. These appear in different colors and sharps.”

In addition, Mr. Charles Jada says they train people what to do when they see an item that they cannot recognize.

On the logistical support, the UN Mine says there is no such programme available for the victims of the mine or any explosive ordinances. Mr. Bojan Vukovic, UNMAS’ Programme Officer says they provide only technical support.

“Unfortunately, we do not have victim’s assistance because it is not in our mandate. So, we don’t provide any further assistance rather than advising them to go other institutions,” said Vukovic.

UNMAS is a service within United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations that specializes in coordinating and implementing activities to limit the threat posed by mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices.