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Landmines: Legacy of conflict - A manual for development workers

Landmines: Legacy of conflict - A manual for development workers

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Published by Oxfam
Mines, once laid, are intrinsically different from all other weapons of war because they cannot be recalled when a conflict ends. Each mine must be disarmed, destroyed, or claim a victim. In over 30 countries, landmines present a major problem for rural communities, and block rehabilitation and recovery. In five countries in particular (Afghanistan, Angola. Cambodia, Iraq, Laos), the scale of rural civilian casualties represents a major emergency.
Mines, once laid, are intrinsically different from all other weapons of war because they cannot be recalled when a conflict ends. Each mine must be disarmed, destroyed, or claim a victim. In over 30 countries, landmines present a major problem for rural communities, and block rehabilitation and recovery. In five countries in particular (Afghanistan, Angola. Cambodia, Iraq, Laos), the scale of rural civilian casualties represents a major emergency.

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Landmines: Legacy of Conflict


Rae McGrath

UK and Ireland

© Oxfam 1994 A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 085598 264 0

Published by Oxfam, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford, 0X2 7DZ Designed and Typeset by Oxfam Design Department OX739/PK/94 Printed by Oxfam Print Unit on environment friendly paper Oxfam is a registered charity No. 202918 Set in lOpt Melior and Franklin Gothic

This book converted to digital file in 2010


This book is dedicated to the memory of Vincent Toilet who worked selflessly for the victims of mines in North Iraq and gained the respect and trust of his patients, the Kurdish people, and his colleagues. Vincent was murdered in Iraq on 22 March 1993.

// the poor were being maimed and killed in such numbers by any other means — by disease, floods or earthquake — it would be possible to raise relief funds and organise international action to halt the carnage. The truth is that few understand the scale of the problem: the human suffering, rural economic decline, and environmental devastation caused by landmines. This is not just a heartless lack of response it is also foolish negligence because the eventual cost to us all will be far greater than the cost of eradicating the mines:

An ass was travelling with a coarse And unobliging horse, The latter carrying no weight at all But his harness, while the poor ass was weighed down So cruelly he staggered on the road. He begged the horse to shoulder part of his load. "My request is not unreasonable," he said For you half of my load would be child's play." The horse retorted "Nay!".... After the donkey dropped dead The horse saw his error; for in the end He was made to pull a cart With the same load plus the carcass of his friend.
Jean de la Fontaine from a translation by James Michie

Foreword vii Preface ix 1 An introduction to the landmines issue 1 2 The impact of mines on the community 30 3 Vulnerability and avoidance 38 4 When the worst happens: minefield procedures 52 5 Action in the community 59 6 Solutions: local and global 65 Endnotes 72 Appendix 1 Mines: The explosive chain 75 Appendix 2 Mine-protection on project vehicles 77 Appendix 3 Statements on landmines by humanitarian organisations Index 82 78 Appendix 4 Mines Advisory Group 81

Landmines have a significant impact on the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in. many countries throughout the world. They make relief and development activities difficult and hazardous, affecting functions as diverse as emergency aid shipments, repatriation of refugees, and longer-term economic recovery. The impetus behind this book is grounded in Oxfam's overseas work, much of which is in areas affected or recently affected by conflict. In recent years, Oxfam staff have witnessed the suffering caused by mines in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Somalia, Somaliland/north-west Somalia, Mozambique and Angola. In Mozambique, an Oxfam staff member, Ilidio Candieiro, was killed in Zambezia Province in February 1993 when the vehicle in which he was travelling detonated an anti-vehicle mine. Landmines are now such a serious problem that, as well as supporting programmes to assist mine victims and to clear mines in different countries, Oxfam is collaborating in the publication of this book to help people living and working in mine-affected areas to avoid the ever-present danger posed by mines. Oxfam is publishing the book as a joint initiative with Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a humanitarian mine-clearance charity with experience of mine-clearance operations and mines-awareness education programmes in many different countries. The author of the book is the Director of MAG. Reliable advice on mine-avoidance is scarce, and this book is designed to fill that gap. The book presents an overview of the problems caused by landmines, describes the most common types of mine and how they are deployed, and provides practical guidance and advice to fieldworkers; in particular, how to recognise and avoid hazardous areas. Information of this kind is essential for the safety of

viii • Landmines

anyone living and working in areas affected by landmines, and Oxfam is publishing this book in the hope of saving lives. There are six chapters: Chapter 1 introduces different types of landmines, explains how they work, and shows how to recognise them. It illustrates how mines are used in warfare, and the effect that a mine blast will have on the human body. Chapter 2 examines the impact of mines on the community. Chapter 3 looks at groups within the community who are especially vulnerable to landmine injuries, and goes on to give advice on how best to avoid high risk areas. Chapter 4 tells readers what to do if the worst happens and they find themselves in a minefield. Chapter 5 emphasises the importance of education and good quality information and data about landmines, and suggests ways in which aid workers can contribute in these areas. Chapter 6 looks briefly at local and global solutions to the problem of landmine proliferation. Whether used as a practical manual or a training resource, it is hoped that the issues raised and the guidelines presented will be of interest and value to a wide range of people living and working in countries affected by the scourge of landmines.
Oxfam Public Policy Department, March 1994

There is a frightening and illogical tendency among expatriate aid representatives working with communities in a mined environment to assume their own indestructibility, often, at the same time, voicing concern for the threat to the indigenous population. It should be superfluous to point out that no-one is immune from the sudden and shocking horror of a mine explosion: the only protection lies in understanding the threat and adjusting your life accordingly. But there are no guarantees of safety, except, of course, that the foreign worker may select the final option and leave the country. For the indigenous community the choice is starker: live with the mines or abandon your land; and often not even that level of choice exists. This book does not set out to make the reader an expert, but to provide an understanding of the problems of living and working in mine-affected countries, and of the realistic precautions which should be taken. More importantly it seeks to advise the reader on how the community can be assisted and what steps can be taken to ensure the eventual eradication of the mines.

x • Landmines

Kompong Speu Hospital, Cambodia, November 1990. Sah Ban is 20 years old. He was wounded by a mine when he was working in a rice field in Tapong district. With him is Dr Helsinky.


An introduction to the landmines issue
In 1943 Christopher Buckley, the British war correspondent, was possibly the first person to express a special concern about landmines as a weapon. He was worried '...because human qualities were not directly involved'. That, he said, was the danger of mines '...buried and invisible'.1 Buckley might have become the first lobbyist against mines had he not, ironically, been killed by a mine in August 1950 while reporting on the Korean War. Buckley identified the key properties of landmines which make them different from other weapons: their persistent and uncontrolled nature. Mines, once laid, are intrinsically different from all other weapons of war because they cannot be recalled by the military when a ceasefire is declared. Each mine must be disarmed, destroyed, or claim a victim. The Mines Advisory Group lists thirty-three countries2 where landmines constitute a major problem for the civilian population; the situation in five of those countries — Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos — must be categorised as an emergency on the basis of the scale of existing casualties. There are also many countries in mainland Europe, not included in this list, which have a continuing problem with landmines laid during the first and second world wars. Two examples will serve to illustrate the sustainability of mines: Russia mounts annual mine-eradication programmes during the spring and summer to clear devices left from battles following the German invasion

2 • Landmines

during World War II; and in Laos farmers and their families are still being killed and maimed by mines which were dropped from US aeroplanes more than 20 years ago. The victims of mines are predominantly members of subsistence rural communities, refugees or internally displaced people and nomadic groups. By definition, in the post-combat period, 100 per cent of victims are civilians — a fact often overlooked by apologists for military mine-dissemination strategies. The deaths and injuries caused to innocent people, and the denial of ground for agricultural and other civilian purposes as a result of the presence of mines, makes it inevitable that the aid community must face up to the issue. Despite the original military purposes of landmines, they now represent a major block to development objectives, and it is vital that aid workers in the field, Northern funding development agencies, and all those with a responsibility for refugees have a comprehensive understanding of the problem of mines.
History and development of the landmine

The first landmines were developed as a response to the battle tank during World War I. These early mines were large and clumsy devices which could easily be removed by opposing forces and redeployed against the minelayers' own tanks. This weakness led to the development of the first anti-personnel mines, designed to prevent enemy soldiers from removing anti-tank mines. Some of these devices were primitive pressure designs while others, forerunners of the modern bounding-mine, were comparatively sophisticated. Between 1918 and 1939 development of the mine became a priority, and it was during this period that the anti-personnel mine began to gain acceptance among military strategists as a weapon in its own right. During World War II, as Christopher Buckley noted, mines were widely deployed by all forces — in Poland and Russia literally millions of devices were laid. During the

An introduction to the landmines issue • 3

Korean conflict the use of mines as a weapon to deny large tracts of ground to the enemy and to channel an attacking force became accepted strategies. However, throughout this period, the deployment of mines remained largely controlled, targeted at soldiers, and linked to specific military objectives — it was during the early 1960s that random dissemination of mines began. The United States, initially in operations against the Pathet Lao and later in vain attempts to close the Ho Chi Minh Trail, began air-dropping mines and submunitions3 on Laos as part of a nine-year bombing campaign reported to have cost an average of two million dollars per day. Despite the scale of this operation, as with the campaign against Cambodia, the United States never formally declared war on Laos. Initially it was run as a covert CIA-controlled operation employing the civilian airline, Air America. Aircrews referred to the mines as 'garbage', from the scale of deployment and random targeting. The long-term impact of the US campaign can be judged by reports from a single hospital in Xiang Khuoang Province that 988 mine and sub-munitions casualties have been treated since 1973.4 The repatriation of H'mong refugees to Xiang Khuoang Province is severely obstructed and, recently, one major donor has suspended a planned repatriation-linked project until the mine problem is addressed. But Laos is just the first chapter of a human tragedy and ecological horror story. Cambodia saw the first large-scale, random use of antipersonnel mines by opposing factions in a civil war, and Vietnam was the setting for the first deployment of the 'butterfly' type of mine by US forces. The US Dragontooth anti-personnel mine was designed to be airdropped randomly over wide areas and was the forerunner of the USSR-manufactured PFM-1 'butterfly' mine. Both devices employ a 'wing' to assist in dispersal. Thus, by 1979 when the Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan, remote deliverance and random targeting of mines were generally accepted, if not admitted, military

4 • Landmines

strategies. Neither was Asia the only continent affected — mines were being widely disseminated in conflicts in Africa and Central America. The seeds were being sown for a long-term harvest of injuries and deaths. It was in Afghanistan that the nature and scale of the problem of mines was first recognised by aid agencies, and where the first large-scale eradication initiative was mounted. But, even as the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies were attempting to find a solution in Afghanistan, weapons designers were working on new mine systems based on the remotedelivery concept which had proved to be so hideously 'successful' in Afghanistan.
Landmines: some definitions

There are legal, technical and military definitions relating to mines and similar weapons. The purpose of this section is to define those weapons which are clearly mines, or have the same impact on noncombatants, the infrastructure, the environment and humanitarian assistance programmes as do mines.
Anti-tank mines

These are mines, normally large in size and containing several kilograms of high explosive, which are designed to disable battle-tanks and other armoured military vehicles. They are most commonly buried several inches below the road surface and activated by direct pressure from the tank, which is transmitted through a striker assembly to a detonator which initiates the main explosive charge (see Appendix One). They may be of metallic or plastic construction. The latter type, despite their large size, in some cases contain so little metal as to be detectable only by the most sensitive detection equipment. Although usually hand-emplaced, some anti-tank mines are designed for remote deployment from aircraft or by other means, such as artillery, mortar or rocket. Most recent and current developments focus on remote surface dissemination.

An introduction to the landmines issue • 5

Anti-vehicle mines

These devices are unlikely to have a separate military category. They are either small anti-tank mines or large anti-personnel mines, which may present a threat to civilian traffic because they require less pressure to initiate an explosion than does an anti-tank mine, and contain a greater explosive charge than is commonly associated with anti-personnel mines.
Anti-personnel mines

For practical purposes, this category of mine should be considered as including any device which conforms to one or more of the following descriptions: • A device designed to kill or injure persons who come into contact with it through a purpose-designed feature e.g. a direct pressure switch or a trip-wire. • A device or piece of ordnance which, although its primary purpose or design may not be to kill or injure persons who contact or disturb the device, can be deployed in such a manner as to achieve that effect. Many sub-munitions, commonly called 'bomblets', become de facto anti-personnel mines when deployed in such a manner that they do not explode on impact. This may be achieved by deployment, either deliberately or otherwise, which does not allow the arming cycle to be completed. The great majority of devices encountered in Laos fall into this category of anti-personnel mine. • Any device, including an anti-tank mine, which is fitted with an anti-handling or anti-disturbance mechanism which is designed to kill or injure persons. • A device which, although not an anti-personnel mine itself, responds to the proximity, movement or actions of persons by activating mines or other explosive mechanisms in such a way as to kill or injure them. The Soviet-manufactured VP-12 and VP13 seismic mine-firing devices fall into this category. These definitions may seem unduly legalistic; however, in the future it will become increasingly


BLU 63 (above) and BLU 24B (below). These US-manufactured anti-personnel fragmentation mines are classified by manufacturers and the military as sub-munitions. They are air-delivered and, regardless of their official designation, have the same random and damaging impact on civilians as other anti-personnel mines. The BLU24B was used widely in Laos and still claims victims after more than 25 years. The BLU 63 was widely used in the Gulf War by Coalition forces.

An introduction to the landmines issue • 7

important for field staff of aid and development agencies to be able to speak with authority about such matters. It is, therefore, important that readers understand these definition of the various types of mine, which are expressed in terms of their impact on a community, as opposed to the official definition for manufacturing, military or political purposes.
Booby-traps or improvised explosive devices (lEDs)

Devices or switches added to existing ordnance or mines which make them victim-activated rather than impact-activated, or victim-activated in a different manner from the original design. For instance, it has been common practice in some theatres of war to bury anti-tank mines in conjunction with anti-personnel mines, thus effectively reducing the initiation pressure of an anti-tank mine to that of an anti-personnel mine. The definition can be extended to any explosive material and switch employed in such a manner as to make it victim-activated. Having defined the various categories of mine it is now necessary to examine the different types of devices that might be encountered within these categories. Some mines may meet more than one set of criteria.
Landmines: characteristics

Mines may be typified by their mode of operation, the way they are activated, the dissemination method used, or a combination of these.
Mode of operation

Blast: Where the blast effect5 of the explosive content of the mine is the prime cause of the injuries sustained by the victim. Fragmentation: Where the mine contains a packing of fragments, usually metallic, or a segmented outer casing which breaks up into fragments on explosion, which, when dispersed by the explosive force of the

8 • Landmines

mine, are the prime cause of injuries sustained by the victim.

The M18A1 'Claymore' anti-personnel mine is a directional device originally designed for ambush and defence. The glassfibre shell contains a pad of plastic explosive impregnated with 700 steel ball-bearings. When activated the ball fragmentation is projected in a 60 degree arc to a height of two metres and an effective range of 50 metres. The M18A1 can be fired remotely by electric firing device or by tripwire. In Angola this weapon and identical copies have been deployed randomly using tripwires. The mine measures 216mm x 35mm x 83mm high.

Bounding: A mine, usually of the anti-personnel fragmentation type, which employs a primary charge designed to lift the mine to a pre-determined height (normally 1 — 1.5 metres) before the main charge is initiated. Most bounding mines are activated by a tripwire.
Type of activation mechanism

Pressure: A mine which is activated by direct pressure from above. Most anti-tank and many anti-personnel mines are of this type. Tripwire: Mines employing this method of activation usually have a protruding switch from which a tripwire or filament extends to a fixed object or, in

An introduction to the landmines issue • 9

some cases, another mine. When the necessary pressure is applied, in any direction, to the tripwire a pin is pulled out of the switch, releasing a striker which is spring-propelled into a detonator initiating the explosive cycle. Some mines may have more than one tripwire. Pressure-release: A comparatively rare type of activation where a mechanism under pressure must be released to activate the mine.
Dissemination method

Hand-emplaced: Most mines can be hand-emplaced, in which case they are usually buried or camouflaged. Mechanical-emplacement: Anti-tank and antipersonnel mines, normally elements of modern mine systems, may be buried by specially designed machinery. Remote-deployment: Most modern anti-personnel mines, and some anti-tank mines, are designed to be delivered to their target area by remote means. This may be by aircraft or helicopter, artillery, mortar, rocket, or ground-based delivery system (such as the UK-manufactured Ranger system). The range of the system has a direct relationship to the ability of the deployment force to maintain reasonably accurate records. By definition, mines disseminated in this manner are surface emplaced but may be camouflaged and extremely difficult to detect. Scatterable: These mines are disseminated by remote means but are designed in such a way as to ensure an effective dispersal pattern over a wide ground area. The Soviet PFM-1 'butterfly' is an example of this type of device.
Protection mechanisms

Another characteristic of modern mines, which makes them even more dangerous, is the fact that many of them are equipped with protective mechanisms, which are designed to kill or injure personnel involved in mineclearance operations. These range from sophisticated in-

10 • Landmines

built mechanisms to crude improvisations. The most common of these protection mechanisms are: Tilt: a subsidiary firing mechanism which causes the mine to explode when tilted to a pre-determined angle. For example, the Chinese-manufactured 72B anti-personnel mine, described below, employs electronic circuitry which initiates detonation when the mine passes through 10 degrees from its emplaced position. Magnetic proximity: An inbuilt device designed to counter mine-clearance operations. The magnetic field of a mine detector is sensed and, bypassing the normal initiation cycle, causes the mine or an attached charge to explode. Voltage drop: A method used to protect electronic devices whereby the primary or subsidiary explosive charge is activated when wires are cut or batteries disconnected. Light sensitivity: This anti-lift device normally takes the form of a light sensitive cell in the base of an antitank mine which initiates the firing cycle when the mine is removed from the ground — a process which allows light to enter the cell. Pressure-release mechanism: Normally a comparatively crude arrangement where the weight of the mine is used to maintain pressure on the arming lever of a grenade from which the safety pin has been removed. Lifting the mine releases the lever and causes the grenade to explode. There are many variations on this kind of booby-trap, which are no less effective because of their improvised nature.
Some common types of landmine

It is virtually impossible to compile a comprehensive list of mines especially when new mines are being developed and some mines, as yet unused, remain on the secret list of the design country. Mines Advisory Group records describe more than 300 landmines and switches, and this list is not thought to be comprehensive. However, certain

An introduction to the landmines issue • 11

devices are common to many of the countries where mines represent a threat to non-combatants and an obstacle to emergency aid and development programmes. The following pages list and illustrate some of these mines, beginning with those most widely deployed.
PMN blast anti-personnel mine

The PMN has probably killed and maimed more civilians than any other mine. Originally manufactured in the former Soviet Union,6 the mine has also been produced by Iraq and possibly by other countries. The PMN is pressure-activated, hand-emplaced, and normally buried, and is deployed in large numbers in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Northern Iraq/Kurdistan, Iran, Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique, and many other countries. The mine has a diameter of 112mm and is 56mm high.

PMN blast mine.

12 • Landmines

Valmara 69 (VS69) anti-personnel bounding mine Manufactured by Valsella of Brescia, Italy, and under contract in several other states, the VS69 is a tripwireoperated bounding fragmentation mine deployed in many countries, especially Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait. The distinctive design with five fuse prongs protruding from a spherical dome makes this mine instantly recognisable. The centre prong has a hole through which is passed one end of the tripwire, the other end being anchored to a vertical stake or natural feature. Sometimes two or more Valmara 69s are interconnected by common tripwires. A sideways movement of the centre prong in excess of 3mm initiates an explosion. In addition, the mine can be detonated by direct downward pressure on the fuse prongs, normally caused by the victim standing on the mine. Fragmentation material, normally in the form of several hundred 6mm ballbearings or 4mm steel cubes, packed in the main body of the mine, is blasted over a lethal range of 30 metres by a 420gm main charge after the inner mine casing has been projected upwards on a 0.5 metre tether wire. The VS69 is normally buried, leaving only the fuse prongs visible, but may also be placed on the surface (as is often the case in Iraq). The diameter of the outer case is approximately 250mm.

Valmara 69 (VS69) bounding mine.

An introduction to the landmines issue • 13

PMN-2 anti-personnel blast mine

The PMN-2 was designed as a successor to the PMN in the Soviet armouries, and has been widely supplied to warring factions involved in the same theatres of combat as listed for the PMN. When visible, the mine is easily recognisable by the raised cruciform shape of the pressure plate situated on the top of a circular casing similar in size to the PMN. The PMN-2 is considerably more complex than its predecessor. It incorporates a bellows system to overcome destruction by fuel-air explosives and similar military clearance methods. The PMN-2, unlike the PMN, can only be made safe using a special tool and at a considerable risk to the deminer. The device is normally destroyed in situ. It requires only 6kg of pressure to initiate the
PMN 2 blast mine.


POMZ-type fragmentation anti-personnel mines These mines first came into use during the 1930s and usually consist of a segmented cast body containing a bursting charge, with a fuse igniter and detonator mounted on the top from which a tripwire extends. The whole assembly is mounted on a thick wooden stake which is driven into the ground. The most commonly-encountered versions of these devices are the Soviet POMZ-2 and P0MZ-2M. Similar mines originate from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, China, Egypt, and Korea. The effective range of this group of mines is 25 to 30 metres. They will probably be found in one form or another in every country where mines are a problem. A particular hazard is caused

14 • Landmines

when mounting stakes are removed for firewood or become rotten. The body of the mine may then be buried, still live, and the tripwire become entangled in undergrowth. The mine may then claim victims even among communities who normally recognise and avoid stake mines. The Vietnamese B40 'ball mine', developed from US sub-munitions dropped during the Vietnam war, which is common in Cambodia, is normally mounted on a metal stake. The body of the mine consists of a smooth or vertically-segmented sphere.

POMZ-type fragmentation mine with tripwire.

VS-50 and TS-50 scatterable anti-personnel mines These two plastic-bodied pressure mines are small (90mm diameter x 45mm height) and virtually identical in design and operation, although made by different companies in Italy. The VS-50 is manufactured by Valsella Meccanotecnica SpA of Brescia, the TS-50 is made by Tecnovar Italiana SpA of Bari. Both mines have also been produced by Chartered Industries of Singapore. A version of the TS-50 has also been produced in Egypt. Normally surface-laid, they can be scattered from aircraft, helicopters or by vehicle-mounted delivery systems.


An introduction to the landmines issue • 15

VS-50 minimum metal plastic-cased scatterable mine.

SB-33 scatterable anti-personnel mine

This mine is irregular in shape and has a mottled surface, which makes visual detection extremely difficult. It can be buried or surface-laid, and is designed to be scattered from helicopters or grounddispersal systems. It will operate when upside-down, and is waterproof. It weighs only 140gm and measures 88mm x 32mm. The SB-33 is very common in North Iraq/Kurdistan. Produced by BPD Difesa e Spazio srl of Rome, it is also made under licence in Spain, Greece, and Portugal.

SB-33 scatterable mine.

16 • Landmines

M16A1 and M16A2 bounding anti-personnel mines


Designed and manufactured in the USA, these mines are activated either by direct pressure or a tripwire, and bound to a height of one metre before the main bursting charge detonates and the steel body of the inner casing shatters and forms the fragmentation which kills or injures. These mines have been found in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Nicaragua, and many other countries. M16 series mines are also produced in Greece, India, and South Korea.

M16A1 (left) andM16A2 (right) bounding mine.

M14 blast anti-personnel mine

The M14 measures only 56mm (diameter) x 40mm (height), and is activated by direct pressure. The M14 is normally buried. Because it is so small, it is extremely difficult to identify visually. It is produced in India, and a copy has been made by Vietnam (MD82B). Other versions are known to exist.

An introduction to the landmines issue • 17

M14 blast mines.

OZM-series bounding anti-personnel mines

The OZM.OZM-3, OZM-4 and OZM-72 are Soviet manufactured mines, and are similar in principle to the M16 series of US bounding mines. They have been widely used in conflicts throughout the world.


Soviet-manufactured OZM-72 bounding fragmentation mine.

18 • Landmines

PMD box mines

Originally manufactured by the Soviet Union, these wooden blast mines are simple in design, pressure operated, and have been widely copied. They have been manufactured in large numbers by China, Vietnam, and North Korea, and are often locally manufactured during conflicts. Israel produces the No.4 Mine, a plastic-cased copy of the PMD, which is used widely in Southern Africa and Iraq.
PMD box mine.

PFM-1 scatterable anti-personnel mine

This is the notorious 'butterfly' mine, a plastic Soviet device which can be deployed by helicopter and mortar fire. It is probable that hundreds of thousands of these mines were scattered over rural areas of Afghanistan. Their irregular shape and colour (sand or green) make visual detection difficult. The design of the PFM-1 is dictated by the need for each device to glide to optimise dispersal after release, and not, as has sometimes been claimed, to make the device attractive to children. The mine contains a liquid explosive charge and is activated by pressure, which may be applied cumulatively. This feature makes the mine particularly dangerous when handled, because the first person to touch it may only apply light pressure, insufficient to activate the device. But the next time it is handled, much less pressure would be required to cause it to explode.

An introduction to the landmines issue • 19

PFM1 plastic scatterable mine; the notorious 'butterfly' mine.

72A and 72B plastic anti-personnel mines

The Chinese 72A and 72B mines, widely deployed in Cambodia, are externally identical although they possess quite different properties. The only distinguishing characteristic is the different shape of the arming pin ring fitted to each version of the mine, which is disposed of at the time of deployment. The 72A is virtually undetectable when buried, except with the most sensitive detection equipment, otherwise it is an orthodox pressure-activated blast mine. The 72B, although easy to detect due to a metallic printed electronic circuit, incorporates an anti-handling device which activates the mine when it is tilted through ten degrees. This mine can also, of course, be initiated normally by direct pressure. The mines described in detail above are just a sample of the most commonly-used devices which exact a daily toll in poor rural communities throughout the developing world.

20 • Landmines

72A and 72B plastic blast mines.

The deployment of mines in armed conflict

Most military experts would argue that mines have several clearly defined and justifiable roles in combat. They are: • to protect military bases and key installations; • to channel or divert enemy forces; • to deny routes and key positions to the enemy; • to slow down enemy movement. If mines are used for these specific purposes in a controlled way, it should be possible for them to be mapped, recorded, and for minefields to be clearly marked, by a responsible command structure. (It could, in fact, be argued that the objectives might all be achieved merely by marking an area as mined without actually laying any mines.) After hostilities have ceased, it should then be possible for mines to be cleared. If mines were only used according to these strict guidelines, there would be virtually no civilian casualties. But the facts are clear: in more than 30

An introduction to the landmines issue • 21

countries, the apparently random dissemination of mines over large tracts of land constitute a major emergency for the civilian population. What is the reason for this contradiction? What strategies have led to the present crisis? Military strategy demands more of the mine as a weapon in the modern theatre of war than indicated by the four uses quoted above. To understand fully the tactics employed, and the reasoning which supports those tactics, it is necessary to divide military usage of landmines into two sub-categories of deployment: • use of mines in the conventional war scenario; • use of mines as part of insurgency and counterinsurgency campaigns. This terminology has no bearing on the type, scale, or scope of any given conflict; rather, it relates to the way in which the enemy force is perceived. For instance, the second Gulf War would fall into the first category, as would the Falklands (Malvinas) conflict, while the Vietnam war and the Soviet/Afghan war fall within the second definition.
Mines in the conventional war scenario

The enemy force is perceived as an organised army with rank structure, uniforms etc. This demands (according to the strategists) two additional tactical uses of mines: • 'Deep strike' deployment of mines into the enemy rear areas targeting key junctions on main supply routes, supply dumps, loading areas, workshops, and headquarters elements — essentially an assault on the enemy's logistic and command infrastructure. • 'Cut-off deployment of mines behind a retreating, or in front of an advancing, enemy force. Both these strategies involve the remote dissemination of scatterable mines by fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, artillery, rocket or mortar. There are no reliable methods of accurately recording, mapping, or, immediately or subsequently, marking such concentrations of mines. It is for this reason that some military strategists believe that

22 • Landmines

the broad deployment of mines is not an acceptable military strategy. Speaking at an ADPA Symposium on 9 September 1993, former Marine Corps Commandant General Alfred Gray, Jr, said: We kill more Americans with our mines than we do anybody else. We never killed many enemy with mines... What the hell is the use of sowing all this [airborne scatterable mines] if you're going to move through it next week or next month?... I know of no situation in the Korean War, nor in the five years I served in Southeast Asia, nor in Panama, nor in Desert Shield/Desert Storm where our use of mine warfare truly channelised the enemy and brought them into a destructive pattern... In the broader sense, I'm not aware of any operational advantage from broad deployment of mines... I'm not downgrading the need for the best [technology] in mine warfare, all I'm saying is we have many examples of our young warriors trapped by their own minefields or by the [old] French minefields [in Southeast Asia] we had examples even in Desert Storm.7
Mines as part of insurgency and counter-insurgency campaigns

The terms 'insurgent', 'guerilla', and 'terrorist' have been used by conventional military forces to describe an enemy force which does not conform to accepted military norms. Often this simply means that the enemy force have fewer resources (although possibly greater popular support) than the 'real' armies in the conflict. It may also, as in the case of the US campaigns against Laos and Cambodia, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iraqi anfal against the Kurds, be seen as a more acceptable way to describe the opposition where war is being waged against an indigenous population. It is this kind of war which has resulted in the most inhuman and persistent use of mines, in the following ways:

An introduction to the landmines issue • 23

• random and widespread mining of agricultural and community land; • deliberate use of mines as anti-morale and terrorising weapons aimed specifically at the civilian population; • mining of villages, water sources, religious shrines, graveyards, etc. The military forces involved use the fact that the enemy are 'hiding in the community' to justify these actions and, for that reason, do not feel restricted to attacking defined military targets since, working under such convenient operational definitions, virtually everywhere becomes a justifiable target. The devastating impact of such tactical doublethink was well illustrated by the use of mines against the Mujahadeen by the Soviet and Afghan government armies. In some areas virtually all mountain grazing land was remotely mined and the whole agricultural infrastructure brought to a halt by the large-scale mining of fields and irrigation systems. It is apparent that the mining of agricultural land in order to restrict the supply of food to an enemy force (and also, by design or otherwise, the civilian population at large) is generally regarded by military strategists and field commanders engaged in such conflicts as a 'normal' strategy. In addition, it is clear that the use of mines as weapons of terror against civilian populations is increasingly seen as an acceptable military tactic by both official and unofficial armed forces. It may not be surprising that the Iraqi government have used this strategy against the Kurds in the north of the country and the Shias in the south, or that the Siad Bari regime used similar tactics in Somaliland/northern Somalia — such behaviour can be expected from dictatorships. But it may be more surprising that both British and Chinese training of Khmer factions opposed to the Vietnamese-backed government in Phnom Penh stressed the use of mines and booby-traps as anti-morale weapons targeted against the civilian infrastructure.

24 • Landmines

In the context of modern warfare mines cannot be said to be 'targeted at the military' using any reasonable definition of the words, since the very design of the great proportion of mines, and the chosen methods of dissemination, are such that civilian casualties and long-term infestation of the land are inevitable rather than coincidental.
A soldier's viewpoint

Ordinary soldiers see war in a very different way from that of senior staff officers and strategists. It is obvious that the soldier's use of mines, whether or not officially sanctioned, are relevant. A Western infantryman, recently interviewed, told a human rights researcher: Once the fighting starts mines are part of my personal insurance policy. They watch my back when I'm exposed, they take the bite out of a surprise attack on my position and they let me sleep at night. The only problem is that the other side have them too — down at our level everyone needs insurance!8 It was the same thinking which contributed to the scale of the mines problem in Iraq's northern border areas with Iran. Soldiers from both sides, Iran and Iraq, built barriers of mines against the enemy: there are locations where each side occupied high ground overlooking narrow valleys and, each time an attack by one side was feared, the opposing forces literally poured anti-personnel mines into no-man's-land. The mines still lie so densely that only a small percentage of the underlying ground surface is visible. Afghan Mujahadeen learned mine warfare in the field. Faced with a surfeit of anti-tank mines and very few anti-personnel mines, they soon began adapting their anti-tank mines into very big anti-personnel devices. In Cambodia fighters used mines in such an indiscriminate manner that it was not unusual to discover that they were laying mines in an existing minefield.9

An introduction to the landmines issue • 25

The use of remotely delivered mines or submunitions seems to distance soldiers from the reality of their activities and the potential effects of their actions. During the nine years that US aircrews bombed Laos crew members referred to the BLU-series bomblets and mines they dropped as 'garbage'. There appears to have been no thought given to the potential and foreseeable long-term impact of the operation, and some evidence exists from MAG survey findings that Laos may have been used as a conveniently secret testing ground for previously untried devices. This distancing factor is also evident when one military force trains another in the use of mines. A good example of this is the training provided by the UK Special Air Service to the Khmer NCR factions during the 1980's.10 The British Army has a reputation for professionalism and what might be termed 'fair play'; and yet no attempt was made to monitor the actual impact of this training and, despite a clear linkage between training of insurgent factions and the deployment of mines in Cambodia in such a way as to cause enormous numbers of civilian casualties, the training continued with the full endorsement of the Ministry of Defence and, presumably, of the soldiers involved.11 These examples have a relevance in evaluating the military arguments relating to the deployment of mines and call into question the degree of credibility of the official military position on this issue. More hopefully, there is considerable evidence that, when brought physically face to face with the actual effects of mines on civilians, soldiers can be outspoken in their condemnation of mines and may often undergo a remarkable change in perception. One common reaction among ex-military engineers who become involved in humanitarian mine-eradication operations is '...I had no
idea about the consequences, I am glad I never laid a minefield myself...'12

26 • Landmines The effects of mines on the human body

There is a temptation to deal with this aspect solely as a humanitarian issue which, as those who have witnessed the impact of mines on the human frame would testify, it certainly is — but it is also a technical issue, as defined by the designers and manufacturers. Mines are marketed like any other commodity and a part of the sales pitch is to emphasise the ability of a specific brand of mine to cause serious injuries, rather than immediate death, for the following reasons: • commitment of resources to evacuation of the casualty; • commitment of surgical and medical resources; • damage to morale of casualty's comrades. Of course, to achieve such aims the injuries must be of a serious and preferably visually horrific nature. What happens in the seconds after a victim stands on a pressure mine? Most victims talk of calm, a period of total quiet and mental confusion, often mixed with a gradually dawning realisation of a partly-severed limb or awareness of some seemingly unconnected detail — a nearby flower or sometimes another mine which the victim notices in the vicinity. Real panic and fear only begin when the casualty sees the reactions of family or friends to his or her predicament. When children are involved the response can often be particularly traumatic; take the case of Sayed Mohammed, a 13-yearold Afghan: ...we were walking by the river when there was an explosion. I was very confused and had fallen down. I stood up and then fell down again, I kept trying to stand, there was smoke and dust and my friend was crying and running. I couldn't understand, I tried to stand up and started shouting. My friend brought my father and he lifted me on to his back and took me to the village...I was frightened but the pain was not bad then. Later it was bad. I did not know my leg had gone, I really did not know I had been badly hurt.13

An introduction to the landmines issue • 27

In terms of medical physics, what happens when a victim stands on a mine is as follows: in the case of a blast device, the blast effect drives upwards deep into the tissue of the leg, driving with it secondary fragmentation — fragments of the mine casing and mechanism, earth, grass, parts of the casualty's footwear, bone and flesh from the foot and ankle — are all driven high into the wound. Traumatic amputation of the lower leg is common, normally leaving the separated part of the limb connected only by strands of flesh or muscle. Subsequent surgical amputation is normally required from a higher site in the limb to ensure that blast and fragmentation-affected tissue and bone is excised. Secondary injuries can be very severe. Blindness and serious facial and chest or stomach injuries from fragmentation are common, as is the loss of fingers. Where the victim has been carrying some kind of implement, perhaps a hoe or mine-detector, serious injuries to that arm are often sustained. Sometimes the tissue of the forearm is stripped away, exposing the bone — such injuries may have a more serious longterm impact than the loss of the lower part of a leg. While a good prosthesis following a below-knee amputation will allow farmers to work normally after a period of adjustment, a partially-paralysed arm or hand may make employment virtually impossible in a subsistence community. Although larger blast antipersonnel mines may kill children, fatalities are normally a consequence of the subsequent trauma involved in evacuation to medical aid which may, in some cases, involve many hours or even days of physically agonising travel. Fatalities also often occur when the victim is alone and dies from loss of blood or exposure. There is evidence that death in this way is common among shepherds, a particularly vulnerable group, many victims being as young as nine years of Fragmentation mines, because they are normally initiated by a tripwire, usually involve multiple-victim

28 • Landmines

incidents. The lethal radius of such devices may be as great as 30 metres and serious injuries may be caused to people as far as 50 metres away from the exploding mine. The type of fragmentation may vary from steel ballbearings or cubes, as in the case of the common Italian mine, the Valmara 69, or shaped sections of cast metal, as with the POM-Z type of mine. Some mines are designed in such a way that the sheet-steel casing of the device is torn apart by the explosion, providing the fragmentation. For the victims the results are devastating and often fatal (but rarely instantaneously so), the fragments literally ripping through tissue, organs and bone and, where velocity is sufficiently maintained, leaving a large, lacerated exit wound. Survivors may suffer multiple amputations, blindness, and secondary effects caused by damage to internal organs. A side-effect of the fragmentation mine, particularly of the bounding variety, which is often overlooked, is the shock caused to family and friends of the victim by the horrific nature of the injuries — simply, but graphically, described by an eleven-year-old Afghan: There had been some bombing and I went with my sister to bring the goats out of the field — we were calling to the animals and she was singing a song — / did not know the song but I was laughing because it was funny. Then there was a loud bang and light and something knocked me down, I was frightened and getting wet from the thing that had hit me. Then I saw my sister's shoe beside me and it was attached to something but my sister was lying very still by the animals, she was far away. It was very frightening and I cried for my father.14 The little boy's sister was dead, but the boy sustained only minor physical injuries; the secondary fragmentation which caused most of those injuries included parts of his sister's body. It is impossible to assess the long-term psychological impact on the boy and unlikely, given the problems facing Afghanistan, that he will ever receive any help. The issue of the

An introduction to the landmines issue • 29

mental trauma suffered by mines victims and their families needs investigation and action by specialists in this field. The surgical and recovery wards of hospitals in mined regions bear witness to the effects of mine explosions on the human frame: rows of amputees, disfigured faces, and sightless eyes. Few of those countries can afford any level of post-trauma support for victims, and prosthetic facilities, where they are not provided by external aid agencies, tend to be of the most basic kind.

Mine victims in a rehabilitation ward in Angola. Laurinda Chinginila (centre) lost both legs when she stepped on a UNITA landmine.


The impact of mines on the community

Main areas of impact Any existing or recent combat zone must be assumed to contain landmines. Aid workers must be fully aware of the potential impact of mines on their work from a very early stage of emergency relief, repatriation and rehabilitation operations. The main areas of effect can be summarised as follows: Mined area Main routes Potential impact areas Food and emergency aid shipments Access to essential areas Repatriation of refugees Movement of aid workers General trade and communications Internal security Evacuation of injured/sick people Electoral process Access to essential areas Repatriation of refugees Trade and communications Rural social and cultural activities Surveys/needs assessments Evacuation of injured/sick people Electoral process Movement of aid workers

Rural roads and tracks

The impact of mines on the community • 3 1

Children's access to schools Internal security Rural agricultural areas and villages Access to essential areas Repatriation of refugees Resettlement of IDPs Agricultural rehabilitation Use of pasture Repair and use of irrigation systems Access to water sources Play and recreation areas Reconstruction Access to fuel Fishing

In addition, the laying of mines to deny access to key facilities causes major disruption to the economy and infrastructure. Railway lines, power supplies (in some areas, all pylon bases are routinely mined), power stations, road and rail bridges, dams, and wells and pipelines for water and oil, are all likely targets for strategically placed mines. The list given above is intended as a guide to the potential infrastructural impact of mines, but is not, of course, comprehensive. Subsistence agricultural communities The effects of mines on low-income farming communities are devastating and long-term. It is important to understand that these communities have to choose between staying and trying to survive despite the mines, or abandoning their land and their livelihood. For most people the latter option is not even a serious consideration. How these people live is by a process of continuous risk assessment. Each area where tasks have to be carried out is assigned one of three perceived levels of

32 • Landmines

When mines are laid on good agricultural or grazing land, as here in Iraq, people have to risk their lives to gain a livelihood, or abandon their land and face destitution.

risk: non-mined land; land believed to be non-mined; land known to be mined. However, unmined land may be perceived as mined land by the community, on the basis of evidence such as verbal reports from normally reliable sources, past incidents, or sightings of unidentified objects. Such land must normally be subject to clearance by de-mining teams before community confidence is re-established. The actual risk depends on the local levels of knowledge and how people approach the problem. In most communities there are several individuals, usually ex-soldiers, who clear mines from priority land. Surprisingly often, these de-miners work without payment and always at great personal risk. Normally they develop considerable skill at dealing with mines but, instead of destroying the devices they locate, they tend to de-fuse and collect them. This may result in enormous dumps of mines being established, often close to residential areas. Farmers and herders usually attempt their own solutions to the problem — often burning grassland in

The impact of mines on the community • 33

an effort to destroy the mines or even driving livestock over minefields. Although these people fully understand the danger of mines and their potential to destroy both individuals and. fragile rural economies, they initially have an unrealistically inflated confidence in these dangerous methods, often with tragic results. The practice of burning, in particular, is extremely dangerous because those mines left undestroyed, normally the majority, may be left in a highly unstable condition. The use of animals to clear mines is often suggested as a means of large-scale clearance but usually by Westerners or city-dwellers rather than by agricultural communities, who have a better understanding of the value of livestock. When used as a technique by rural people, often nomadic herdsmen, it is less an attempt to clear mines en-masse than a selfpreserving early-warning system. However, while mines initiated by livestock may save many human lives, the number of mines casualties among herders and shepherds bears stark witness to the deficiencies of this particular early-warning system. It is essential to understand, however, the prime reasons why the above methods of clearing minefields (burning vegetation and herding livestock) are not merely limited in effect but actually counterproductive. This is because, regardless of the result, neither the community nor subsequent mine-clearing teams are any better informed as to the situation that exists following burning or livestock-herding. If there is a single explosion one can assume that the area in question is mined but, since, livestock do not apply pressure to every square centimetre of land, and the effectiveness of burning is dictated by the vegetation, types of device, weather and many other factors, that is the limit of the knowledge gained. Such areas will still require specialist clearance and, in the case of burned land, that task will have been made much more dangerous. Some communities may assume that burning or livestock herding has cleared all the mines or proved that the area in question is un-mined — such

34 • Landmines

assumptions are usually fatal. Aid workers must never encourage or suggest these particular methods as a solution to the problem. The victims of mines in subsistence agricultural or nomadic communities normally fall into one or more well-recognised risk categories. These are: • People whose tasks demand continuous breaking of new ground, for example, firewood collectors and livestock herders. Many games played by children are dangerous for this reason. • People whose tasks require the removal of vegetation, for example, clearing overgrown farmland, cleaning irrigation canals, weeding gardens. • People whose tasks require digging or hoeing of earth, for example, ploughing, planting, road and track building and maintenance, digging irrigation channels, house-building, gardening. • People travelling on recently unused or lightly-used roads or tracks. • People moving and working in areas where there have been military posts, routes or installations, in order to, for example, graze livestock, scavenge for valuables, scrap metal or souvenirs in old military positions. • Untrained people attempting to clear mines. • Children. Susceptibility to mines may also be increased by seasonal factors. Heavy rains and flooding often uncover or move mines causing an increase in mine incidents. Snow, which hides even surface-laid mines, has obvious implications, as does the subsequent snow-melt.

Repatriated refugees are especially vulnerable to mines, the major factors being: • time spent as refugee; • individual returnee's knowledge of the area; • specific knowledge of mines threat; • contact with community in resettlement area;

The impact of mines on the community • 35

• wealth of individual or family group. Obviously the threat is greatest among refugees who have spent many years away from their country. In cases such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola and Mozambique, younger refugees may have been born in refugee camps and never actually lived in their native country. Even well-designed mine-education lessons will have a limitation among such groups. It is common practice for refugees to maintain some contact with anyone remaining in their home area, and it is often the task of younger men to maintain that contact by travelling to their home villages. These men will often develop a reasonable knowledge of the mine threat and inform their fellow refugees. However, this may, in some cases, lead to unfounded rumours. In extreme circumstances, heavily-mined areas may be reported as safe and vice versa. Fortunately, the passing of such misleading information among refugee groups is uncommon. There are some important lessons to be learned from the repatriation of Afghan refugees, especially regarding the period immediately following initial resettlement. Regardless of the level of an individual's knowledge relating to the danger of mines, there appears to be a critical risk period lasting as long as two weeks during which returnees may ignore even the most basic safety considerations in order to undertake trivial tasks or even to make gestures. Some Afghan returnees climbed mountains to view their home valley, or even to picnic, within days of being repatriated. All too often the resulting explosion led to a return to Pakistan by ambulance. Children have climbed from vehicles and run directly into fields within minutes of returning to their homeland — with inevitable and tragic results. It is a sobering reflection that most, if not all, of these refugees had attended at least one mine-awareness course of instruction in Pakistan. Attendance at such courses cannot be assumed to indicate understanding or even interest. Although large numbers of refugees may attend mines-awareness courses in refugee camps, this

36 • Landmines

is often because of their perception that all official meetings and classes are linked to either rations or status, and must therefore be attended. UNHCR field staff and other personnel involved in repatriation must be aware of the obstacle to physical repatriation and resettlement which the presence of mines represents. There has been a tendency in the past, probably due to a poor understanding of the full impact of mines on rural communities, to see mines as an obstacle to repatriation plans — a subtle but potentially fatal difference. Resettlement of heavily-mined areas may have to be delayed, but, as has been demonstrated in Cambodia, once repatriation begins it is impossible to discourage determined returnees from occupying the best available fertile land, regardless of mine warnings. For example, the heavily-mined Ratanak Mondul District in Battambang Province was off-limits to refugees despite its reputation as a particularly fertile area. Returnees simply ignored the warnings because prime land is the major concern of returning refugees, whereas mines are an unknown quantity or a calculated risk. Ratanak Mondul probably has a higher mine fatality and injury rate than any area of comparable size in the world. It may be simplistic to conclude that repatriation should be delayed until land essential for returnees is clear of mines — the responses are all too obvious and probably, to some extent, valid: spontaneous repatriation will happen anyway; political, economic and social pressures will not allow a delay in repatriation with mines as the sole reason; and, in any case, the timescale involved in mine clearance is too prolonged to make delaying repatriation until returnee areas are cleared of mines a viable option. However valid these points are, they do not alter the fact that returning refugees to mined areas, to land where the simplest daily tasks may have fatal consequences, constitutes a failure to meet the minimum requirements for organised repatriation under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The impact of mines on the community • 37

Internally displaced people

Displaced populations tend to fall within an aid-gap, outside the UNHCR mandate and often not benefiting from assistance to static communities. Displaced people are especially at risk from mines; often caught in combat areas and forced to farm land and graze livestock in heavily mined zones, and, because they have often moved into an area where the problems, as well as the environment, are new and uncertain, essential tasks such as fuel and water collection expose them to even greater risks than static communities. However, displaced people, by the very fact that they have lived with the threat of mines, are often a reliable source of information about danger areas. A source that, because they fall outside the operational mandates of most aid agencies, commonly remains untapped.
Nomadic groups

Nomads may suffer dramatically as a consequence of minefields. In Afghanistan, for instance, traditional Kuchi migration routes were temporarily closed or diverted by the war but sometimes made permanently unusable because of minelaying.15 Livestock herding by nomadic groups may be a vital factor in post-combat rehabilitation but is a high-risk occupation, particularly vulnerable to the effects of widespread remote minelaying and the irresponsible deployment of scatterable anti-personnel mines. As with internally displaced people, nomads are a prime and reliable source of information on the location of minefields.


Vulnerability and avoidance
A victim's perspective It is the random nature of large-scale mine dissemination that makes mines so damaging to rural communities, but certain groups and individuals within those communities are critically vulnerable. This increased vulnerability may be a consequence of the victim's occupation, age, height, or intelligence. Vulnerability as a consequence of occupation has been addressed in the previous chapter but it is essential for field staff to understand that, regardless of occupation, some members of the community face increased risk even in areas where mines are surface laid and, seemingly, easily visible. The visibility of a mine is affected by a combination of factors: • location • the colour of the mine • the size of the mine • the shape of the mine • surrounding vegetation • local distractions • the perception and state of mind of each potential victim. If the mine is buried, obscured by overgrown vegetation, or perfectly camouflaged, the potential victim's control of his or her own fate is limited, once the initial decision to enter the mined area has been made, either in the knowledge or unaware of the presence of mines. However, if the mine is located on the surface or is initiated by a tripwire, each of the

Vulnerability and avoidance • 39

above visibility factors may have a role in deciding who survives. The young, the very old, those with poor eyesight, and the mentally disadvantaged become extremely vulnerable in this situation. An old person, particularly if burdened with a load of wood, for instance, will commonly focus on the ground, at most several feet, and often less, to the front. This gives less opportunity to react to a suspicious object by stopping or changing direction. It is often the case, in addition, that elderly people simply do not recognise a mine as being more suspicious than any other object in a fast-changing world. The mentally disadvantaged are likely to have a poorly defined understanding of mines, their danger and the need to avoid them. Such people may also fail to recognise mines if they happen to see one or may actually attempt to handle or move devices. Children, however, face the greatest risk, primarily because of their restricted vision of the ground ahead. Children are also most likely to be distracted by objects or activity at the periphery of their vision; they may spend comparatively long periods actually looking in a different direction to that in which they are moving and, of course, children may run for long periods and change direction frequently, for no particular reason, without prior observation of the ground ahead. The height of a child is critical and may mean that a mine which is clearly visible from several feet away to an adult, is actually impossible for the child to see until it is almost underfoot, particularly if the mine is surrounded by well-grown vegetation.
Mines as toys

It should first be emphasised that there is no evidence and no probability that anti-personnel mines have ever been purposely manufactured to look like toys or other everyday objects. This has become a common rumour in war-affected regions and may be used as deliberate propaganda, as was the case in Afghanistan, where it

40 • Landmines

was an oft-repeated accusation against Soviet forces. In some instances such rumours have been, carelessly or irresponsibly, given credence by aid workers. The danger of this type of rumour is the confusion and fear naturally raised within the community, particularly among returning refugees. There is also a potentially negative impact on the collation of reliable data relating to mine dissemination. Although there is no indication that anti-personnel mines have been deliberately made in the shape of toys or other everyday objects, there is some evidence that individual soldiers, and possibly units, have booby-trapped children's toys and household objects, but nothing to suggest that these actions have been initiated or even supported at a higher military or political level. Having excluded the likelihood of purposemanufactured devices which resemble toys, it must be said that some mines, because of their appearance, may have a particular attraction for children. The Soviet PFM-1 'butterfly' mine, sown in massive numbers in Afghanistan, has none of the physical characteristics normally associated with a mine and may clearly attract attention from children. (There are technical design reasons for the shape of the PFM-1: the thick wing contains the liquid explosive and the thin wing ensures that the mine glides after release from its container to obtain a wide area of coverage from each batch of mines.) The unusual appearance of anti-personnel devices like the Italian VS-69 Valmara, a lethal bounding fragmentation mine, certainly arouses the curiosity of children until they are made aware of the deadly nature of the mine. Its danger is increased because, since it is both tripwire-initiated and a directpressure device, a curious child may be killed without actually touching the mine itself. However, the most insidious threat arises from the inventive nature of children and their ability, particularly in poor communities, to put the most mundane and unlikely objects to good use for their entertainment. This is a global phenomenon well-

Vulnerability and avoidance • 4 1

illustrated even in the UK and Ireland and the US, where children used to make carts out of orange boxes and pram wheels. In regions where mines have been widely disseminated they become a familiar sight to children, and a casual attitude to mines is often encouraged by the irresponsible behaviour of soldiers and other adults, who may disarm16 mines and leave them carelessly on view or even allow children to handle them. The results are well illustrated by the photograph below of a little boy in Iraqi Kurdistan proudly playing with his home-made truck — the rear wheels made from VS-50 anti-personnel mines with a nail driven through them to form the axle.

Children often make their own toys from what they can find. Here, the wheels of the truck are made from Italian anti-tank and anti-personnel mines.

This lack of sensible respect for mines may be partly a result of children's naturally adventurous and careless nature — but a contributory factor is undoubtedly the attitude of adults, often the child's own parents, who themselves often pay little regard to the danger of mines and may even disarm them and keep them in and around their houses.

4 2 • Landmines

For children, like this child in Somalia, mines can become familiar, everyday objects, stored in and around their homes.

As a visitor to many aid agency offices in mined countries, the author could add the observation that field staff who use disarmed fragmentation mines as paper-weights are hardly encouraging a realistic respect for the danger of mines among the community in which they work. 'Practice what you preach' should certainly be the rule, particularly among agencies who work closely with children.
Mines as tools

Subsistence communities rarely waste any opportunity to put what occurs naturally or incidentally to good use; this is part of a necessary survival mechanism. The fact that there may be an element of danger or even selfishness in such redeployment of resources is either unrecognised or ignored. So, for instance, in Cambodia, triangular plastic or metal mine warning signs were removed from minefield perimeters and used as roofing tiles. However, the use of landmines as tools would seem a particularly inexplicable practice until consideration is

Vulnerability and avoidance • 43

given to the fact that their wide dissemination can lead to a reduction of any fear or respect on the part of individuals, often despite continuing mine-related fatalities and injuries. In addition, some men will have learned to use mines in unconventional ways while serving as soldiers. Probably the most common civilian use of mines is as a fishing tool: mines are thrown into rivers or ponds and detonated, and the ensuing explosion causes a pressure wave which kills fish or damages their swimbladders. The fish can then be netted when they float to the surface. The large number of injuries and deaths from this practice arise either when the mines are initially removed from the minefield or when attempts are made to detonate them. The author on one occasion dissuaded a group of teenagers from detonating an antitank mine containing six kilograms of explosive, which they had placed in a shallow stretch of river, by dropping large rocks onto it from a small bridge directly above the device. The resulting explosion, had they been successful, would have undoubtedly demolished the bridge and killed the boys. This was an extreme case, but, nonetheless, it is not uncommon for accidents to happen simply because people have no conception of the power of explosives or the lethal ranges of different devices. Another common, and less innocent, use of mines is as a method of protecting property or establishing land rights. (At least one senior aid official has also boasted that his home in Cambodia was protected by mines;17 a more irresponsible, immoral and dangerous action is hard to imagine.) It will probably be difficult (and may be risky) for aid workers to dissuade people from taking this kind of action, but every opportunity should be taken to discourage the practice and those who cannot be persuaded to remove the mines should at least be encouraged to mark their location. The argument should be put that this will effectively discourage people from trespassing, and there will be less risk of killing a friend, relative, or child accidentally.

44 • Landmines

Farmers may attempt to use mines as blasting devices to open up channels for irrigation, remove tree roots, or split large rocks on their land. All these, and similar, activities carry an extremely high risk and, in most cases, will be unsuccessful.
Avoiding mines: risk areas

The first step in avoidance is understanding the different types of minefield, and which areas are likely to be particularly dangerous. There is a tendency to think of minefields as rectangular, well-defined pieces of ground (a perception that military spokesmen tend to encourage), whereas minefields fitting such a definition are the exception rather than the rule. For this reason, there follows a non-military guide to the different types of minefields which are likely to be encountered; most fields will fall into more than one category.
Visible minefields

A simple way of describing areas where the mines, or some of the mines, are scattered on the surface of the ground or mounted on stakes.
Concealed minefields

Areas where mines are buried, camouflaged or concealed by growth of vegetation.
Marked minefields

Areas laid with mines, either visible or concealed, where someone has placed signs warning of danger but where the perimeter or expanse of the minefield is not delineated.
Fenced minefields

In the best case these are mined areas where the outside perimeter is clearly delineated by some form of fencing interspersed or marked with mine warning signs. Such minefields will, most likely, have been fenced at the same time as they were laid, or been fenced by specialist

Vulnerability and avoidance • 45

mine-clearance agencies or military authorities at a later date. Where local communities have fenced minefields themselves it is safest to assume that the perimeter is marked inaccurately. Where minefields were laid and marked during a war, the clarity and reliability of visible marking will obviously deteriorate with the passage of time. In an extreme case, only a specialist would be likely to recognise the significance of a strand of partially concealed, rusting barbed wire.
Mined buildings, objects or facilities

There are many reasons to suspect mining around buildings in areas that have seen military activity. Mines laid inside buildings are comparatively rare and, when they occur, normally take the form of booby-traps. Be suspicious of buildings that are known to have been occupied by soldiers — if in doubt simply stay away from such buildings. Any structure that has been used as a defensive position by troops is likely to have mines laid to the front and flanks (note that the front in this context is the direction of the enemy soldiers faced by the defenders). An obvious indication would be abandoned and damaged vehicles or tanks or the remains of soldiers or animals. Buildings, particularly purpose-built military observation posts, at the summit of hills or mountains, should be assumed to be surrounded by mines on all sides. In such cases there will be one or more safe-lanes for access, but this is likely to be marked in a manner known only to the defenders of the position. Any building or structure which contains (or contained) vital equipment, such as power stations, radio stations, warehouses or government offices, is likely to be surrounded by mines, leaving only a single entrance approach un-mined. The base of all electric pylons will also be mined. All bridges in former battle zones and on approach roads to important towns will be mined, normally on both banks and at the base of the bridge supports. Note that, if any level of military activity still exists, the

46 • Landmines

approach to the bridge, and the bridge crossing, is likely to be mined during the hours of darkness. If you are forced to travel in these conditions you should find out the procedure for approaching bridges from military authorities, if this is feasible. It is sensible to assume railways are protected by minefields on either side of the track. Signals, crossings, and goods yards are especially likely to be mined. Airports and airstrips in battle zones, especially where the facility has been under regular attack or threat of incursion, will have been mined. (Note that some airstrip perimeters may be mined even in countries that have not been at war.)
Dead ground

'Dead ground' is a military term for any expanse of ground which could provide cover for attacking troops within range of a held position or strong-point. So, for instance, a trench or, more likely, an irrigation canal close to a military post would be considered dead ground by the defenders of the post. A standard military strategy is to mine all dead ground which is seen to present a potential threat to the defence of a given position. For this reason great caution must be exercised when approaching canals and ditches and similar land.
Mined battlefields

One of the problems faced by anyone attempting to identify danger areas in a mined region is the lack of what the military call 'intelligence'; especially when the mines were laid during a battle (or series of battles) several years, or even decades, before. All those rusting entanglements of barbed wire, for instance, were originally put there for a specific military purpose: some may have marked the perimeter of minefields, but without a knowledge of the specific military action, it is impossible to make any assumptions. However, if you intend to work in the region it is vital to assess such areas, at least temporarily, as either

Vulnerability and avoidance • 47

safe or unsafe. Such decisions are made even more difficult when the area in question is prime agricultural land or an ideal site for an irrigation or resettlement project — but these considerations are of the utmost importance, being actually life-saving, or lifethreatening, so it is essential to understand that mined battlefields may cover whole valleys and adjacent hills and screes. Any area which has been fought over by opposing forces, where each side has established strong defensive positions and especially where those positions and the ground separating them have changed hands, must be suspected to be heavily mined. This is especially true of lowlands separating heavilydefended hill positions.
Avoiding mines: basic rules

For the new arrival or traveller in a region which is suspected to be mined, it is also essential to follow some basic rules if mines are to be avoided. (That does not mean that the long-term resident in mined regions should not follow these rules, but the author has found that such people often become careless or, even worse, consider themselves immune from the effects of mines by virtue of their 'field experience'!) The folowing warning cannot be repeated too many times: Mines are indiscriminate. All you have to do is initiate them, no-one is immune.
Rule one: ask questions

• in each new area to determine if it is mined • when travelling — keep asking • talk to other agencies, especially: de-mining agencies surgical hospitals/surgeons (ICRC)

48 • Landmines

prostheses workshops construction agencies • before leaving safe roads ask: local people, especially farmers and herdsmen and boys.
Rule two: if you are in any doubt — turn back!

While it is important to ask local people, you should not follow them blindly; they often know less than they claim, may simply be foolhardy, or may have become used to the presence of mines and take them for granted. (In 1988 in Afghanistan the author was led for miles along precarious dykes through fields which the Mujahadeen claimed were mined. Later, when the area was surveyed prior to mine clearance, the author was horrified to discover that those fields were, for the most part, un-mined while the edges of the dykes he had walked on contained hundreds of mines.) A common mistake made by expatriate aid workers is to assume that their interpreters have a comprehensive knowledge of all the danger areas in the country, regardless of the fact that the interpreter may have spent most of his or her life in the city. While it is vital to follow Rule One — gathering as much information as possible by asking anyone who may have reliable knowledge — the final responsibility for your own safety is your own!
Rule three: never travel in high-risk areas for nonessential reasons.

This may sound superfluous advice, but, judging by the number of aid workers who 'go exploring' in places like Afghanistan and Cambodia, it is advice which needs to be given. It is important to be aware that places of interest in peacetime are often of strategic value in wartime. It is also standard guerilla practice to use mines as a method of destroying the infrastructure — this is likely to include tourist attractions and cultural or

Vulnerability and avoidance • 49

religious centres. Never go near old military positions, emplacements or buildings: they are almost certain to be mined. Surveys in mined environments should be well planned with defined aims and should involve only essential personnel. Rough mapping of known and suspected mined areas should be part of all survey reports. It goes (or should go) without saying that agencies should avoid establishing aid or rehabilitation initiatives in mined areas when a by-product of such projects will be an increase in the target community's vulnerability to mines. Obvious examples are: • establishing rehabilitation or returnee centres close to minefields; • sinking deep wells near to mined grazing land; . • rebuilding or building houses, schools or clinics close to minefields. (It should be pointed out that all the above are examples of actual recent activities.)
Rule four: keep to well-used roads and tracks wherever practical.

This is one of those rules that is far easier to make than to keep, especially if you are serious about working with rural communities in a post-war environment. It is still a good rule to live by, in conjunction with Rule One. Walk in single file and keep to the same path as the lead person. If it is practical you should keep up to 20 metres between each person, but a distance of at least ten metres would limit casualties in the event of an explosion. Never drive vehicles off a road or track onto the verges in any area which might be mined. The military often clear roads and tracks of mines but they rarely clear the verges, and these are almost certain to contain mines if the carriageway itself was ever mined. Never wander off a road or track to urinate or defecate:

50 • Landmines

either cross your legs or learn to hide your shyness! (It is an unpleasant, but nonetheless useful, hint to remember that areas full of fresh human excrement are likely to be far safer places to use than those private and previously unused spots that modesty may prefer.)
Rule five: never touch, move or approach mines or suspect objects.

There is a tendency for some aid workers to develop a belief in their immunity to the effects of explosives; or at least this is the impression given by several years of retrieving mines and ordnance from the homes and offices of otherwise sane and dedicated professionals. Another danger of such behaviour is the bad example given to local communities, especially children.
Rule six: be alert!

While it is true that mine victims rarely see a mine and then proceed to stand on it, it is probable that many see clues to the presence of mines that could have saved them from death or injury. It was their failure to recognise these clues which was the critical factor. Why do victims fail to notice mines or tripwires? There are several answers to this question: • the mines are buried; • the mines are deliberately camouflaged; • the mines are naturally camouflaged by overgrown vegetation; • the victim is looking in a different direction. There are many indications of the presence of mines referred to in innumerable pamphlets and papers. Some pieces of advice, such as '...look out for hollows in the ground...' and '...steer clear of circular growths of vegetation...' are so vague as to have limited practical value. Other advice is more useful, but everything depends on the traveller maintaining a high level of alertness at all times while moving in an area which is known or suspected to be mined.

Vulnerability and avoidance • 5 1

To be constantly on the look-out for tell-tale signs is not easy, especially when the purpose of travelling in the area may be to assess needs for aid projects or similar tasks. It should be recognised, too, that alertness in itself will not make you safe although it will certainly make you safer. Clues to the presence of mines include: • unusual colours or shapes: be suspicious of exposed round edges — they rarely occur in nature; dirtyyellow and green objects; and metallic or plastic surfaces. But remember that not all mines are round — some are oblong and made of wood. • taut, partly buried or entangled thin-gauge wire or filament (similar to fishing line). Never pull wires. • wooden stakes, especially if seen inconjunction with wire; • animal remains, remnants of footwear, or any similar signs that may indicate that something or someone has fallen victim to a mine; • battlefield relics such as bunkers, barbed wire entanglements, ammunition dumps, helmets, destroyed vehicles, abandoned weapons, etc; • buildings which may have been used for military purposes or occupied during a battle.


When the worst happens: minefield procedures

Facing facts

There is a great deal of nonsense both taught and believed about the dangers of minefields, and the author does not wish to add to the general misunderstanding by giving an impression that this chapter conveys anything more than some possibilities of achieving the best result in the worst of situations. If you or a colleague stray into a minefield the probable consequence will be death or severe injury — avoidance, as covered in the previous chapter, is the best, and only reasonably certain, defence against a mine accident. Some minefield specialists are reluctant to teach even the techniques involved in probing for mines as part of general mine-awareness training. This is often thought to be a form of trade-protectionism but actually the unwilllingness stems from the very real fear that any such teaching may encourage the less cautious to take unnecessary chances in the belief that they have the skill to escape from a mined location. A little learning can, indeed, be deadly dangerous. It needs a good deal of skill and experience even to be sure that you are no longer in a minefield; and the skills of dealing with specific devices and situations in a minefield cannot be taught or learned on a casual basis. A minefield operative learns his skills initially in dummy minefields but hones those skills by on-the-job training, under

Minefield procedures • 53

expert supervision in live minefields. The author assumes that readers will be sufficiently sensible to understand that the techniques explained in this
chapter are for use in emergencies only, as a life-saving strategy. Recognising an emergency

The two most likely scenarios which would indicate you are in a minefield are either that an explosion occurs or a mine is found. From that moment survival depends on many factors; but you must always assume the worst situation — that you are in a minefield: mines are rarely laid singly. The most important first response must be to stop all movement and warn everyone in the vicinity to do the same. This response must be immediate — there may only be inches between individual devices and, although you may have sighted a mine on the surface, others are likely to be buried close by.
Summary: Stop all movement immediately. Warn other people immediately. Escape

(Dealing with anyone who has been injured by a mine would naturally be an immediate priority but, for the sake of clarity, this is dealt with in a later section.) Before anyone moves it is imperative to identify the last safe ground over which you have travelled. In some cases this may be clear — a well-used track is obviously safe ground. However, particularly if your route has traversed large expanses of open country, it may be little better than a guess. The next step is to identify a route to safe ground. Obviously the safest option is to retrace your steps exactly, but this may only be possible in soft ground, grassland, or where you have followed a clearly visible

54 • Landmines

route or ground feature. As a general rule, you should always go back over ground you have already traversed rather than attempt to escape in any other direction. If you are in a group, one person should take control of evacuating the group from the minefield. Only one person should move at a time. Keep at least ten metres and, if possible, 20 metres, between each person. Summary: Identify safe ground. Identify safest route back to safe ground. Put one person in charge. Only one person moving at a time. Observe safety distances.

Movement The safest method of movement would be to retrace your footsteps exactly back to safe ground, and this may prove possible in some kinds of terrain, such as soft mud; but, realistically, such conditions must be considered the exception rather than the rule. In the majority of cases you are most likely to be sticking as closely as possible to the route you remember, and retracing the route must be done step-by-step, examining the ground minutely as you proceed and, when in a group, warning the person behind of any obstacle or route deviation. This process must not be rushed, and everyone should avoid any temptation to bunch together. The leader of the party must keep firm control of the group, and ensure that information is passed clearly, and that no-one panics.
Summary: Retrace your route as closely as possible. Stay alert and move with caution: never rush. Maintain safety distances. Keep control and pass on critical information. Never panic.

Minefield procedures • 55

Probing It would be reasonable to ask what happens if there is no obvious safe exit route, if you reach a point where you simply cannot remember what path you took, or if you find a mine on what you thought was a safe exit route. The only possible solution then is to probe for mines — a slow, painstaking and potentially dangerous task. Probing is simply a technique designed to identify objects below ground level which might be mines, using a suitable probe. Although probes used by specialists are often purpose-made, the most suitable improvised tool is a strong knife with a minimum four-inch blade length. Every square centimetre must be probed, so the first priority is to decide the minimum width of clearance along the escape lane. This should be no wider than necessary to enable each person to negotiate the lane, remembering that probing must be carried out in the prone or crouching position. A shoulder-width lane should allow safe passage. Working methodically, the probe is carefully used to pierce the ground at an angle of 30 degrees. Whenever the probe meets resistance, the earth is carefully scraped away to expose the obstruction. In most cases this will be a stone or similar harmless object, in which case methodical probing continues. If the object is a mine (or a suspicious object) you must stop moving the earth as soon as the identification has been made.
Summary: Never attempt to remove or move the mine. Never try to lever the mine out of the ground.

Warn others and try to mark the site simply, using small stones or a similar method. Probing should then recommence cautiously to bypass the mine. It should be understood that such an escape may take many hours.

56 • Landmines

Summary: Decide on width of safe lane. Probe methodically every square centimetre at 30 degrees. Expose any object which presents a resistance to the probe. Mark and bypass mines and suspicious objects. Continue methodical probing until safe ground is reached.

Obviously, you should not wait until an emergency arises to begin looking for a suitable tool for probing; inevitably there would be no such thing available. Far better that you adopt a personal policy of always carrying a strong sheath-knife when travelling.

It is extremely common for people (particularly family and friends) to be killed or injured while attempting to rescue mine victims from a minefield. The task is especially dangerous for a number of reasons, not least that rescuers are more concerned for the welfare of the injured person than for their own safety. It is also possible that the initial explosion may have disturbed, exposed, or made unstable other devices in the vicinity. The victim's body may be concealing untriggered mines. If the casualty is conscious it is important to reassure him or her and to warn against any attempts to move or crawl away from the site of injury. It may also be possible to instruct the victim to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Family members and friends must be dissuaded from attempting to enter the minefield; this may be difficult since they are likely to be distraught and hard to reason with. The decision to attempt a rescue yourself should only be made if the victim is alive, and if no specialist mine teams can be called to the scene within a reasonable time.

Minefield procedures • 57 Rescue technique

Always establish and mark a safe approach route to the casualty by probing (as described above), wherever possible following the entry route of the victim. Take wound dressing with you. • Stop about two metres short of the casualty and make a close visual inspection of his or her immediate surroundings. Look for visible mines and tripwires. • You must now clear a space around the casualty sufficient to allow you to administer emergency first aid and to lift or otherwise move the casualty. Explain this to the casualty — do not rush, it will serve no purpose to further injure or kill the casualty, and will mean that someone else must risk their lives to rescue both of you. • The casualty may be hysterical in which case you must calm him or her, but, especially in the case of amputation, she or he is likely to be traumatised and may be unusually calm. Check visually and probe carefully under the victim's limbs and clothing for mines. • Give emergency first aid — bleeding may be stopped by direct or indirect pressure; however, since the casualty may have to be dragged or carried for considerable distances, a tourniquet is usually the only practical method of stopping bleeding. A record should be kept and attached to, or marked on, the casualty, recording times when the tourniquet was originally applied and subsequently re-applied. The tourniquet should be loosened at intervals to avoid the onset of gangrene, and should not be applied unnecessarily high above the wound site. Less serious wounds should be dressed, if possible, using clean material or wound dressings. • No definitive rules can be given for extricating the casualty from the minefield, except to stress that your survival and that of your patient depends on your not straying out of the area you have cleared. A child or light person may best be lifted into the 'fireman's lift'

58 • Landmines

position on the shoulders. A larger person may need to be pulled along the escape lane, in which case arms and limbs should be immobilised. A second rescuer may be called and the casualty be placed in a litter or carried between both rescuers. Much will depend on the local situation and the material and help available. • Having been successfully rescued, the patient must be taken without delay to the nearest surgical facility. First aid should be kept to the minimum required to stop serious bleeding and keep the casualty breathing. Never suture wounds or attempt other advanced medical aid. Do not be tempted to wait for the most comfortable method of travel if this is uncertain or may take time: use the best transport that is available and leave instructions for any better (faster) vehicle to follow you when it arrives. This kind of rescue is a very high risk undertaking and no-one is obliged to take such action. It is strongly recommended that the removal of corpses from minefields is only undertaken by properly-equipped, specialist teams.


Action in the community

Educating the community

Aid workers can perform a critical role in limiting casualties among the indigenous community by making use of their direct contact with families through medical, resettlement, agricultural, education, and similar activities. Every opportunity should be taken to warn vulnerable groups about the danger of mines, and poster campaigns should be mounted without delay. Expert advice should be taken before such posters are printed.18 Simple warnings should be inserted into all educational material aimed at vulnerable communities; however, simple should not be confused with simplistic; subsistence farmers, for instance, will be well aware of the danger in their fields but equally understand that their survival depends on their ability to farm their land. It will serve no purpose to tell such communities not to go into mined areas — they have no choice, and will disregard such advice. Messages should be educational and realistic: warning against disturbing wires or attempting to disarm mines. One of the most important roles which can be performed by aid organisations is to dissuade communities from removing minefield markings and fencing; even partial success in this would dramatically speed eventual minefield eradication. It is important to gain access to women and children, most of whom will be engaged in highly mine-

6 0 • Landmines

Mines Advisory Group staff giving out exercise books and pencils to children in Penjwen village in northern Iraq. The books carry a mines-awareness message.

vulnerable occupations such as collecting firewood, herding livestock, collecting war scrap and, in the case of children, simply playing. People working alone are particularly at risk. Many mine victims die because they are by themselves and there is no-one else nearby to go for help; many young livestock herders die from exposure and loss of blood following an immobilising but, under normal circumstances, non-fatal mine injury. The key messages should be:
Never touch mines or munitions. Keep to well-used paths. Warn each other when you see a mine. Try not to travel or work alone: work in pairs or groups. Never disturb loose or taut wires. Avoid areas where people or animals have been injured.

Communities should be encouraged to use a

Action in the community • 6 1


Marked minefield, Battambang, Cambodia.

standardised and safe method of marking mined locations, such as skull and crossbone signs on adjacent tracks, stone cairns, etc. They should not, however, be tempted to mark too closely the edges of minefields or individual mines.
Collecting data

Eventually, mines will have to be eradicated if life is to return to normal, and this long-term and complex task can be assisted greatly by the early collation of relevant data. The most important primary intelligence data for minefield surveyors are: • the location of visible mines; • the location of mine incidents. Maps and military information are much lower on a scale of reliability than such primary data since both are unarguable evidence that mines exist in a given area. Many aid agencies are ideally placed to collate such information and produce vital source data for subsequent mine-eradication programmes. For instance, medical and prostheses centres should take the following actions:

62 • Landmines

Differentiate, at admission time, between mine victims and other patients. Include the following questions in their admission formalities for mine victims: 1 Name, gender and age of casualty; civilian or combatant. 2 Accurate location of explosion. 3 Type of injuries. 4 Number of others killed or injured in the same incident. 5 Nearest village to incident. 6 What the casualty was doing at time of incident (planting, herding, playing etc.). 7 Other incidents in that specific area in the previous twelve months. 8 Date of incident/date of admission. Agencies can also produce secondary aids such as incident cluster maps which can be circulated to other organisations as safety guides. Care should be taken only to enter data that is based on actual incidents or sightings by reliable witnesses. It is far better to have a very accurate cluster map with a few dots than to have an impressive but fictional, and therefore dangerous, showpiece! Where several agencies have access to quality information it may be helpful for one organisation to take on the task of dealing with all data centrally. Information about risk areas, mined roads, and incidents can be included as a regular section in agency newsletters or, in a heavily-mined region, a dedicated 'Mines Newsletter' could be published. Agricultural and veterinary organisations should keep records of livestock killed or injured by mines and produce similar incident cluster maps as suggested above. It will also be useful for the eventual planning of mine-eradication projects if these organisations maintain a register or map of mined arable and pastoral land.

Action in the community • 63

Other community assistance ideas

Local teachers, mullahs, priests and doctors should be encouraged to warn their communities about the danger of mines and to discourage adults from keeping mines or mine cases in their houses. Where women's groups exist they should be included in discussions about the most effective ways of spreading mine-awareness messages to children. It is particularly important to dissuade communities from attempting to clear mines themselves. Although this may seem a laudable and community-spirited thing to do, it will actually make eventual clearance of minefields a far more difficult and dangerous task. Casual clearance is rarely conducted in a methodical fashion, so that minelaying patterns, where they exist, will be broken. In addition, because such clearance is unlikely to be comprehensive, the community, believing an area cleared of mines, may begin using a tract of land which they have previously avoided, only to suffer unecessary casualties caused by mines that have been missed. It is unlikely that all such activities can be discouraged because there will be considerable support for them among the community. It is difficult to argue the case for stopping all mine clearance by untrained people and waiting for a professional team to carry it out when the community feel this may never happen. One approach is to try and divert some of these local de-miners to the task of marking known minefields rather than attempting to clear them. More persistent, and possibly effective, de-miners should at least be discouraged from storing disarmed mines close to villages and, preferably, persuaded to destroy them at a remote site rather than store them where they may be stolen and relaid or cause a safety hazard for the community. Most village de-miners disarm rather than destroy mines and remove them to central dumps (often close to their house) which may contain thousands of mines. This is common practice because such men establish their credibility in the com-

64 • Landmines

munity by the number mines they have cleared rather than on the quality of their work. Such dumps often contain live, fullyarmed mines which have merely been carried carefully from the minefield. Although some men involved in this work may be fully-trained specialists, there is a marked tendency for work to be conducted in a haphazard and dangerous manner and few such experts avoid injury or Deminer, Somalia. Random death for long. All community leaders mine clearance can make should be encouraged to eventual eradication more difkeep records of mines ficult and dangerous, and casualties, and a simple should not be encouraged by aid agencies. reporting format could be designed which might then be submitted to the organisation whose task it is to keep central records for the region.

It is very important that aid workers do not make uneducated or rash commitments to communities. Mine-clearance agencies often find that communities have unrealistic expectations of mine-clearance operations, sometimes believing that whole districts can be cleared of mines in a matter of weeks. All too often such hopes have been raised by aid workers. It serves no good purpose to deceive communities, even with the best of intentions; they have a right to know that, in most cases, when mine-clearance operations begin it will take many months and possibly years to return their land to full use.


Solutions: local and global
There are over 30 countries where anti-personnel mines are the cause of serious problems for the civilian population. In at least five (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique and Northern Iraq/Kurdistan), mines are arguably the most serious obstacle to returning those countries to normality. Repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people, reconstruction, and the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure are all profoundly affected by the presence of mines. An effective and lasting solution to the problem must both address immediate needs and look to the future by: • eradicating existing mines and assisting mine victims; • acting on the root of the problem, the indiscriminate use of mines made possible by the global trade in anti-personnel mines. Finally, the only solution may be the ultimate abolition of these weapons.
The local solution: eradicating mines

The large-scale eradication of landmines is a comparatively new, developing technology, different in concept to the traditional military engineering task of 'breaching' i.e. making a path through a minefield. Breaching is a battlefield tactic, is conducted at speed, aims merely for an 'acceptable' level of clearance, and therefore expects some loss of life and injury both during and after the clearance operation. In contrast, the aim of humanitarian mine clearance is to decontaminate mined land by locating and destroying all mines, and make essential land 100 per cent safe for the community. There

66 • Landmines

can be no compromise of that aim, even though it may be impossible to attain in some areas. Nor can there be any acceptable loss of life or injury, neither among teams during clearance operations nor among the community at large following clearance; although, as with total clearance, such standards may, in reality, be unattainable. The steps towards humanitarian-based eradication of mines are:19 • community and technical survey by specialists • identification of priority tasks and locations • selection of indigenous trainees • training of clearance teams. Training consists firstly of classroom lectures on theory and basic methods, followed by practical training in dummy minefields. The trainees are introduced by stages into live minefields and live clearance, under expert supervision. Community mine-awareness projects should be an integral part of the overall mine-eradication initiative, and indigenous field education officers should be trained specifically for this role.

Training session on mine-clearance being run by Mines Advisory Group specialist in Laos.

Solutions: local and global • 67

Since clearance operations are likely to last for many years it is clearly preferable that a level of specialist supervision, support and advice remains available to indigenous teams for as long as possible. International agencies involved in mine-eradication programmes have also a secondary responsibility to ensure that the teams they have trained continue to destroy mines and do not disarm and store, sell, or otherwise dispose of them. International donors have special responsibilities when funding de-mining activities not only to ensure that the funded agency destroys all mines and prioritises clearance on the basis of sound humanitarian principles, but also that it provides for the adequate protection of indigenous teams.20 Donors should be prepared to provide funds which are sufficient to equip all de-miners with approved helmets, visors and protective waistcoats. It is not uncommon for UN and NGO field reports to include recommendations such as '...mechanised techniques should be used for mine clearance in this area'. The justification is normally that such an approach will be 'quicker' or 'more effective' than manual

Mines Advisory Group de-miner, with appropriate protective clothing and headgear, northern Iraq.

68 • Landmines

clearance. Simplifications of this type are not only based on ignorance but, in the hands of funding officers with little understanding of the technicalities of de-mining, may be harmful and prove massively wasteful of valuable funding. It is imperative that those involved have an understanding of the resources available for de-mining and how these can be most effectively employed within humanitarian de-mining initiatives. There are three elements integral to the eradication of mines: • detection • disarming (only when in-situ destruction is impossible or unsafe) and subsequent destruction • in-situ destruction. Mines are most effectively detected by a combination of electronic detection and manual probing. Dogs (normally labradors, Belgian shepherds or alsatians) specially trained to respond to the scent of explosives, may be used in some circumstances as a supporting resource. Dogs are dependent on the skill of their handlers, and their ability to sniff out explosives is also affected by weather conditions; they should only be worked for a maximum of four hours per day. High technology techniques for detecting mines over wide areas using such sub-sciences as thermal imagery are of little value for humanitarian programmes and, in any event, are prohibitSoldiers from the UN force in ively expensive. Mines which can be Somalia, preparing to blow up a disarmed should be dealt dump of mines and other muniwith by trained special- tions.

Solutions: local and global • 69

ists with a knowledge of the technique relevant to each particular device. Not all mines can be safely disarmed. The in-situ destruction of a mine may be achieved by placing an explosive charge beside the device, and remotely detonating both charge and mine. Mines may also be detonated or physically destroyed in-situ using mechanical methods such as chain flails mounted on armoured plant or tanks. However, flails are only suitable for certain ground situations, do not destroy mines incorporating overpressure devices, and may throw live mines outside the clearance area. The use of such machinery should not be undertaken without ensuring adequate funding and support for the upkeep and repair of the traction vehicle. All ground cleared using flails or similar systems must be manually checked before it is declared clear of mines. Other mechanical systems, such as mine ploughs, which are designed to move mines clear of a breached lane rather than destroying each device, are not relevant or useful for humanitarian eradication operations since they merely transfer the problem elsewhere. Techniques for the collective destruction of mines such as fuel air explosives and 'explosive sausages' of the 'Giant Viper' type are not useful for humanitarian programmes for three reasons — they are ineffective against mines fitted with over-pressure devices; they are inexact and must be fully supported by manual clearance; and they are often unacceptable for safety and ecological reasons.
The global solution

When a victim is torn apart by a fragmentation mine or loses a leg after standing on a blast mine a long and often cynical chain of action has come to an end. Antipersonnel mines are uncontrollable and random weapons which, once laid, remain a threat to life long after the original military deployment criteria have been forgotten. Despite this fact, military strategists and arms

70 • Landmines

manufacturers have continued to develop the technology of mines with no regard for the subsistence rural communities who are most affected by these weapons. A number of governments have either ignored or colluded with the sale of mines to users who have carelessly or purposely targeted civilians and, even now, when a ban on the use, export or even production of anti-personnel mines has become a real possibility, there are governments who appear willing to place profits from the arms trade above innocent lives. A number of humanitarian NGOs, based on their experience in mined regions, and human-rights organisations, have become actively involved in advocacy on the issue of landmines, and are pressing for revisions to the current international law on landmines (the 1980 Inhumane Weapons Convention), as it comes up for review in 1994-5. Their aim is the effective protection of civilians, and there is a growing body of opinion which believes that the only way to ensure this is to address, through the United Nations, the fundamental question of the legality of the manufacture, transfer and use of anti-personnel mines (see Appendix Three). Because of the high cost of mine-eradication programmes there is a need for radical thinking to ensure that effective remedial action can continue in mine-affected countries. The request by the UN General Assembly in October 1993 for the Secretary-General to consider setting up a special United Nations trust fund is laudable but there must be adequate safeguards to ensure that the fund is not used to cover UN administrative costs or to pay governments of member states for supplying military instructors at the expense of actual mine clearance. There is also a strong argument for a UN-enforced charge to be levied on states which manufacture and export landmines, which could fund the costs of mine eradication. Most of all it is vital that everyone who has seen the impact of anti-personnel mines on civilian communities takes every opportunity to make the world aware of the

Solutions: local and global • 71

death and suffering inflicted on poor people by these hidden and persistent weapons. Aid and development workers and organisations should become actively involved in seeking a solution to the problem of mines, and speak out about their experience of the scale of damage — to people, to the infrastructure, and to the environment — caused by these weapons. It is only when the international community as a whole becomes aware of and takes responsibility for what is a major human tragedy that effective action to deal with the problem will become a possibility.

1 2 Alan Moorehead, biography by Tom Pocock. Bodley Head, London 1990. A recent study by the US State Department has identified sixty-two countries where mine incidents have been reported, but most authorities, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, consider that about half that number of countries have a mines problem of crisis proportions. Countries most seriously affected by mines are: Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq and Laos. Mines also represent a major problem in Bosnia, Croatia, Georgia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Sudan. A mines problem of a lesser nature, or as yet unassessed, exists in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chad, Columbia, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Falklands/Malvinas, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Russia, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Sub-munitions are explosive devices delivered to the target area within a carrier projectile. This may be a bomb, rocket, or other projectile, which on arrival above the target dispenses the sub-munitions over a wide area. Sub-munitions often have the same intrinsic properties as mines. There is an increasing tendency on the part of manufacturers and the military to redefine scatterable and remotely delivered mines as 'sub-munitions'. Report from Dr San Somboun, Mongolian Hospital, Xiang Khuoang to Mines Advisory Group field survey team May 1993. Only includes admitted patients and those recorded as dead on arrival (43) treated by that facility and the previous field hospital at the same site. It is estimated that this figure represents only 40 to 50 per cent of total casualty figures among the provincial community.



Endnotes • 73 5 Blast is the wave of air driven at ballistic speed from the site of an explosion. Damage is caused to human tissue both by the blast itself and by pieces of the mine and other secondary fragments driven into the victim by the force of the blast. A senior Russian military engineer officer recently stated that the PMN is 'no longer manufactured in Russia'. This statement remains to be confirmed. It should also be noted that no information exists about the possible continued manufacture of the PMN in other former Soviet states. The PMN 2 is believed to remain in production in Russia. Quoted in Landmines: A Deadly Legacy, published by Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, New York, 1993. Interview by the author, UK, February 1993. Landmines in Cambodia: The Coward's War, Asia Watch, New York 1991.



8 9

10 The scope of this training is documented in the Asia Watch report Landmines in Cambodia: The Coward's War. NCR was essentially a title of convenience given to the Khmer People's National Liberation Force and the Royalist ANS which allowed US funds to be- channelled into the insurgent war against the Phnom Penh regime. Through high level political agreements between the United States and United Kingdom governments the SAS became an instrument of covert US foreign policy. There is, in the author's opinion, no evidence that the SAS trained the Khmer Rouge directly; however, given the close field co-operation between the KR, KPNLF and ANS, the point is purely academic. 11 For some years, Parliament was assured that reports of the training were untrue. For example, in October 1990, Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister, said: 'There is no British Government involvement of any kind in training, equipping, or co-operating with the Khmer Rouge forces or those allied to them.' It was finally admitted in a written Parliamentary answer, in June 1991, by the then

74 • Landmines Secretary of State for Defence, Archie Hamilton, that British forces 'provided training to the armed forces of the Cambodian non-communist resistance from 1983 to 1989.' 12 Selected and representative quotation from de-mining specialists involved in humanitarian eradication operations in several countries. 13 From MAG casualty interviews conducted in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the period 1988-1991. 14 MAG casualty interview, Paktia Province, Afghanistan 1990. 15 See Mines Survey of Afghanistan, Mines Advisory Group, Peshawar 1990. 16 To disarm a mine is to remove components of, or break, the explosive chain to render a mine safe, or safer, to handle. A disarmed mine may still contain the explosive charge. 17 Asia Watch report given verbally to MAG. Phnom Penh February 1993. 18 The Mines Advisory Group will always co-operate in such projects and can produce indigenous language posters with a minimum of delay. Contact the Project Officer MAG by fax on INT+44 (0)900 827088. 19 Based on the operating principles of the Mines Advisory Group. 20 It is a sad comment that many mine-clearance projects in Cambodia, including the UN-sponsored CMAC teams, employ Khmer de-miners who are not issued with protective clothing other than goggles.


Mines: the explosive chain
(Note: What follows is not intended as a scientific or technical description of the explosive chain, but is a simplified account of the operation of mines for the non-expert.)

PMN mine segmented to show the explosive mechanism.

The sequence of events which follows the activation of a mine by a victim is known as the explosive chain and varies little in principle between different types of mine. There are three key elements in the chain: • the fuse or igniter • the detonator • the explosive content.

1 The fuse or igniter
This may be an integral part of the mine or an external addition which must be added to make the device operate. It may

76 • Landmines
operate mechanically, electrically or by a chemical reaction. There is often a time delay between the deployment of the mine and the fuse or igniter becoming operational. The fuse or igniter is the first link in the explosive chain. Normally it is operated by direct pressure, such as a the weight of a person standing on the mine, by indirect pressure or pressure-release through a tripwire or similar method, or by distortion or accumulative pressure, as in the case of the PFM1 Butterfly mine. The fuse or igniter sets off the detonator.

2 The detonator
The detonator is the second link in the chain and is simply a low explosive set off by the activation of the fuse or igniter. The explosion of the detonator in turn causes the explosive content to explode.

3 The explosive content
This is the final link in the explosive chain. Normally TNT or similar high explosive, it requires the boost of a low explosive to cause it to explode. In fragmentation mines the explosive is surrounded by or contains splinters of metal or ball-bearings.


Mine-protection on project vehicles
Most aid agencies have considered the use of mine-protection for their project vehicles in the field, and manufacturers of such equipment often target agencies working in mined regions as potential customers. It is important that the following points are considered before a decision is arrived at: • Mine-protection is expensive. Will it be fitted to all vehicles? Can the agency afford to make the same protection available to local staff as to expatriates? • The major disadvantages related to the retro-fitting of mineprotection are: i Increase in the weight of the vehicle making the vehicle more vulnerable to pressure mines. ii Protected vehicles are more likely to get stuck on the protection plating in boggy conditions. iii Protected vehicles are difficult to service because of restricted access to key components, and are prone to overheating and similar problems. Self-help modifications such as filling tyres with water to reduce road pressure, sandbagging the inside of cabs, removing engine covers, and similar tactics are of doubtful practical effect, and have an attendant negative impact on safe driving and vehicle reliability. It is worth stressing that the most effective safety measure is avoidance. Staff should question local people, de-mining teams, and other agencies before entering unknown or suspect areas, and avoid travelling in areas of known risk unless there is an over-riding operational justification.


Statements on landmines by humanitarian organisations
There is growing concern among humanitarian organisations about the problem of landmines. These are two examples to illustrate the range of responses. The first statement, signed by Oxfam, was prepared by a group of development and relief organisations. The second statement, to which Mines Advisory Group is a signatory, describes the campaign being organised by a group of human rights, de-mining and medical organisations. 1 This paper was produced for the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response, an alliance for voluntary action of: Caritas International, Catholic Relief Services, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Save the Children Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Oxfam, and the World Council of Churches. Anti-personnel land mines (APMs) are small but lethal weapons of destruction designed for military purposes. Although used in inter-nation conflicts, APMs are typically the weapon of choice in civil war situations because of their small size, low cost, and capacity to indiscriminately maim and terrorise civilian as well as military populations. The most distinguishing feature of APMs is their capacity to maim and kill arbitrarily long after wars have ended. APMs are the quiet but deadly legacy of war for present and future generations. Humanitarian NGOs are particularly aware of the impact of APMs. In addition to an unacceptable level of needless human suffering, APMs cause major disruption to relief and post-war humanitarian work: safe return of refugees and displaced people, long-term recovery and development. The civilian and post-war destructive capacity of APMs is extensively documented in Cambodia, Angola, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Mozambique. The Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) and the organisations which it represents believe that their

Appendices • 79 work in humanitarian response necessitates their concerted efforts in regard to APMs in the following ways: International Law In 1980 the United Nations adopted a Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, commonly known as the Convention on Inhumane Weapons, and three Protocols to it. The convention and its protocols provide for the protection of civilians from attacks by means of incendiary weapons, landmines and booby-traps, and prohibit the use of any weapons the primary effect of which is to injure by fragments that cannot be readily detected in the human body. This convention has been ratified by 36 countries. While the convention and its protocols address the use of inhumane weapons, the protection for civilians is weak and there is no mechanism proposed for the limitation of weapons manufacture. As of 2 December 1993 the convention will be reviewed. Also, it is anticipated that other resolutions relative to APMs will come before the UN General Assembly. The SCHR is prepared to: i work for the further ratification of the convention and its protocols by countries which have not yet done so; ii seek avenues of intervention to strengthen the convention and its protocols to provide effective protection for civilians; iii promote international discussion and advocacy which would lead finally to the abolition of the manufacture and consequently the use of APMs. Adequate NGO access to the UN review of the convention and protocols The experience of humanitarian NGOs should be an important aspect of the inter-governmental review process. The SCHR is prepared to address the issue of NGO access with the UN Secretary-General and other appropriate UN agencies as necessary. Adequate financial and human resources for demining The SCHR is prepared to address the inadequacy of current UN demining programmes, and to seek a significant commitment of

80 • Landmines resources to UN and other demining programmes.

The SCHR is prepared to provide care for mines victims in their humanitarian work within their existing mandates of humanitarian response.
Raising public awareness The SCHR is prepared to conduct information and awareness programmes within their organisational constituencies which seek to educate and inform on the above points. 2 The International Landmines Campaign was launched in 1992 as a direct response to the increasing toll among civilians caused by landmines. The campaign is now supported actively by more than 80 organisations worldwide and has been a major factor in influencing recent controls on landmine exports and the continuing international debate surrounding the manufacture, trade and impact of landmines. Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights, and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation have come together to issue a joint call to ban anti-personnel landmines: Whereas anti-personnel landmines that detonate on contact are indiscriminate weapons that remain hidden and lethal long after the end of a conflict; and whereas antipersonnel landmines have killed or mutilated tens of thousands of civilians and rendered large tracts of agricultural and pastoral land unusable, preventing the subsistence and economic development of rural populations; and whereas the 1981 United Nations Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices has failed to prevent the indiscriminate use of antipersonnel mines; We call for: An international ban on the use, production, stockpiling, and sale, transfer or export of anti-personnel mines; and The establishment of an international fund, administered by the United Nations, to promote and finance landmine awareness, clearance and eradication programmes worldwide; and Countries responsible for the production and dissemination of anti-personnel mines to contribute to the international fund.


Mines Advisory Group
The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) is a non-profit, non-governmental charitable organisation dedicated to assisting poor communities faced with mine-related problems. It is the primary role of the Mines Advisory Group to eradicate the existing problems of mines to allow subsistence rural communities to live without fear of death and maiming by landmines. All MAG programmes are based on technical expertise with an emphasis on safety, and, as the eradication of mines is a longterm task, the establishment of an indigenous capability to deal with the problem. MAG has a commitment to ensure the maximum possible level of technical training and assistance for local teams, which is always based on expatriate staff working alongside trainees in live mined environments. MAG always destroys mines, either in situ, or when this is not possible for technical or safety reasons, collectively at the end of each day. No serving soldiers are employed by MAG in any of its programmes. MAG will only eradicate mines from areas where there is a clear humanitarian reason for such action — minefields which have a continuing military role or which are laid to protect the integrity of international borders will not be cleared unless by mutual request of all involved parties for humanitarian reasons. All MAG projects are supported by parallel community education initiatives, normally as an integral sector of MAG action. MAG is active in North Iraq/Kurdistan, Cambodia, Angola, Laos and will soon begin programmes in Mozambique and Central America. Situation surveys have also been conducted in Afghanistan and Somalia. Since anti-personnel mines constitute a major humanitarian emergency in many poor countries, MAG has and will continue to actively campaign for an international ban on the manufacture, sale, use and proliferation of these weapons. Mines Advisory Group, 54A Main Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9LU, UK Tel: INT + 44 (0) 900 828580 or 828688 Fax: INT + 44 (0)900 827088

References in boldtypeare to illustrations. 72A/72B plastic anti-personnel mines 19, 20 activation mechanisms 8-9 Afghanistan 1, 24, 28, 48, 65, 72, 78, 81; M16A1/M16A2 mines 16; nomadic groups 37; PFM-1 mines 18; PMN mines 11; refugees 35; Soviet/Afghan war 3, 4, 21, 22, 23, 39-40 agricultural land 2, 23, 31-4, 47; mines used as tools, 44 aid workers: attitudes towards mines ix, 42,43; avoidance of mines see avoidance; commitments made to communities 64; community education 59-61; data collection 61-2; mine-protection on project vehicles 77; siting of rehabilitation projects 49 airstrips 46 amputations 27, 28, 29 Angola 1, 29, 65, 72, 78, 81; anti-personnel mines 8; M16A1/M16A2 mines 16; PMN mines 11; refugees 35 animals 33; dogs used for detection 68 anti-morale tactics 23 anti-personnel mines 2, 5, 6, 7, 69; statement by humanitarian organisations 78-80 anti-tank mines 2, 4 anti-vehicle mines 5 armed conflict 20-24 Armenia 72 arms manufacturers 69-70 avoidance see also education; minefield procedure; basic rules 47-51; mine-awareness courses 35-6, 66; risk areas 44-7 Azerbaijan 72 B40 'ball mines' 14 battle zones 45-7 blast effect 7, 73; injuries caused 27; M14 mines 16,17; PMN mines 11; PMN-2 mines 13 blindness 27, 28, 29 BLU 63/BLU 24B mines 6, 25 booby-traps 7,45 Bosnia 72 bounding mines 8,12; M16A1/M16A2 16; OZM mines 17 box mines 18 breaching minefields 65 bridges 45-6 Britain; training of Kluner factions 23, 25, , 73-4 Buckley, Christopher 1 buildings 45 Burma (Myanmar) 72 burning vegetation 32-3 'butterfly' mines 3,18,19, 40, 76; dissemination 9 Cambodia x, 1, 3, 22, 24, 48, 61,

Index • 83
65, 72, 78, 81; 72A/72B plastic blast mines 19, 20; mineclearance 74; mines used as tools 42, 43; PMN mines 11; refugees 35, 36; training of Khmer factions 23, 25, 73-4 camouflage 38, 44, 50 canals 46 categories of mines 4-7 Chad 72 children 26, 27, 34, 35, 39, 6061; mines as toys 39-42 China: mine manufacture 13, 18; training of Khmer forces 23 CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) 3 civilians: insurgency and counter-insurgency campaigns 23-4 'Claymore' mines 8 clearance of mines 65-9; cost 70; mechanised 67-8, 69 Columhia 72 communities: impact of mines see impact areas community action: commitments made by aid workers 64; community leaders 63-4; data collection 61-2; education 59-61 concealed minefields 44 counter-insurgency campaigns 22-4 Croatia 72 Cuba 72 cultural centres 49 Czechoslovakia 13 data collection 61-2 dead ground 46 deployment of mines 20-24 detonators 76 development agencies see aid workers; non-governmental organisations displaced people 37 dissemination methods 9 ditches 46 dogs 68 donation of funds 67 Dragontooth mine 3 education 59-61; eradication of mines 66; mine-awareness courses 35-6, 66; public awareness 71, 80 Egypt: mine manufacture 13,14 El Salvador 72 elderly people 39 emergencies 52-3; escape 53-4; movement 54; probing 55-6; rescue attempts 56-8 eradication of mines 65-9; cost 70; mechanised 67-8, 69 Eritrea 72 escape 53-4 Ethiopia 72 explosive chain 75-6 explosive mine-clearance 69 Falkland Islands (Malvinas) 21, 72 farming see agricultural land fenced minefields 44-5 flails 69 flooding 34 fragmentation 7-8; BLU 63/BLU 24B mines 6; injuries caused 27-8; POMZ-type mines 13, 14; VS69 mines 12 fuel air explosives 69 funding 67 fuses 75-6 Georgia 72 'Giant Viper' explosives 69 global solution 69-71 governments 70 Greece: mine manufacture 15, 16 Guatemala 72 Gulf War 21; anti-personnel mines 6 hand-emplaced mines 9

84 • Landmines herders 32-3, 34, 37, 60 see also shepherds Honduras 72 humanitarian organisations 70 see also aid workers; statement on landmines 78-80 igniters 75-6 impact areas 30-31; agricultural communities 2, 23, 31-4, 44, 47; internally displaced people 37; nomadic groups 37; refugees 34-6 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) 7 India: mine manufacture 16 injuries 26-9 insurgency campaigns 22-4 internally displaced people 37 International Committee of the Red Cross 72 International Landmines Campaign 80 international law 70, 79 Iran 24, 72: PMN mines 11; VS69 mines 12 Iraq 1,22, 23, 24, 65, 72,81; agricultural land 32; children 41; community education 60; M16A1/M16A2 mines 16; PMD box mines 18; PMN mines 11; SB-33 mines 15; VS69 mines 12 Israel: mine manufacture 18 Italy: mine manufacture 12,14, 15 Khmer factions 23, 25, 73-4 Korea: mine manufacture 13, 16,18 Korean conflict 3 Kurdistan 22, 23, 65, 81; children 41; PMN mines 11; SB33 mines 15 Kuwait 72; VS69 mines 12 landmines: activation mechanisms 8-9; avoidance, basic rules 47-51; mine-awareness courses 35-6; risk areas 44-7; categories 4-7; community action see community action; deployment in armed conflict 20-24; dissemination methods 9; eradication 65-9; cost 70; mechanised 67-8, 69; explosive chain 75-6; global solution 69-71; hindrance to development objectives 2; history and development 2-4; impact on communities see impact areas; injuries caused 26-9; local solutions 65-9; mine-awareness courses 356, 66; mode of operation 7-8; persistence and uncontrollability 1-2, 69-70, 78-80; protected vehicles 78; protection mechanisms 9-10; soldiers' attitudes 24-5; statement by humanitarian organisations 78-80; victims see victims; vulnerability see vulnerability Laos 1, 2, 3, 22, 25, 72, 81; antipersonnel mines 5, 6; mineclearance training 66 Libya 72 light-sensitive activation 10 livestock 33 local solutions 65-9; see also community action M14 blast anti-personnel mines 16,17 M16A1/M16A2 bounding antipersonnel mines 16 M18A1 'Claymore' mine 8 MAG see Mines Advisory Group magnetically activated detonation 10 Malvinas {Falkland Islands) 21, 72 manufacturers 69-70 mapping procedures 20, 21, 49,

Index • 85
61,62 marked minefields 20, 21, 44 mechanically emplaced mines 9 mechanised mine-clearance 678,69 mental trauma 28-9 mentally disadvantaged persons 39 military buildings 45, 49, 51 mine-awareness courses 35-6, 66 mine ploughs 69 mine-protection 77 minefield procedures 52-3; escape 53-4; movement 54; probing 55-6; rescue attempts 56-8 minefields 44-5 mines see landmines Mines Advisory Group (MAG) vii, 1,10, 25; address and information 81; Iraq, work in 60; mine-clearance training 66; warning posters 59, 74 Mozambique 65, 72, 78, 81; PMN mines 11; refugees 35 Mujahadeen 23, 24, 48 Myanmar (Burma) 72 Nicaragua 72; M16A1/M16A2 mines 16; PMN mines 11 nomadic communities 33, 34, 37 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) 67, 70; statement on landmines 78-80 old people 39 OZM-series bounding anti-personnel mines Pakistan: refugees 35 PFM-1 scatterable anti-personnel mines 3,18,19, 40, 76; dissemination 9 plastic mines 19, 20 ploughs 69 PMD box mines 18 PMN blast anti-personnel mines 11, 73, 75 PMN-2 anti-personnel blast mines 13, 73 Poland 2 POMZ-type fragmentation antipersonnel mines 13,14; injuries caused 28 Portugal: mine manufacture 15 pressure activation 8 pressure-release activation 9 pressure-release protection mechanisms 10 probing 55-6 protection mechanisms 9-10 psychological trauma 28-9 public awareness 71, 80 railways 46 rain 34 recording procedures 20, 21 Red Cross 72 refugees 34-6 religious centres 49 remote deployment 9, 25 repatriation 34-6 rescue attempts 56-8 risk areas 44-7 risk assessment 31-2 risk categories 34 roads 49-50 rural areas 30-31 see also agricultural land Russia 1, 2, 72 see also Soviet Union; mine manufacture 73 Rwanda 72 safety see avoidance; minefield procedure SAS (Special Air Service): training of Khmer factions 25,73 SB-33 scatterable anti-personnel mines 15 scatterable mines 9; PFM-118, 19; SB-33 15; TS-50 14; VS50 14,15

86 • Landmines shepherds 27, 33 see also herders shock 28 Singapore: mine manufacture 14 snow 34 soldiers: attitude towards mines 24-5 Somalia 23, 72, 78, 81; children in 42; mine clearance 64, 68 Somaliland 23 Southern Africa: PMD box mines 18; Soviet/Afghan war 21, 23 Soviet Union see also Russia: mine manufacture 11,13,17, 18,73 Spain: mine manufacture 15 Sri Lanka 72 Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) 78-80 strategic use of mines 20-25 sub-munitiions 3, 72 Sudan 72 terrorism 23 tilt-activated detonation 10 tools 42-4 tourist attractions 48 toys 39-42 training see education trenches 46 tripwires 8-9 TS-50 scatterable anti-personnel mines 14 Tajikistan 72 Uzbekistan 72 United Kingdom: training of khmer factions 23, 25, 73-4 UNHCR 36, 37 United Nations 4; mine-clearance 67, 70, 79-80 United States 2, 3, 22, 25; mine manufacture 16; training of Khmer factions 73-4 US State Department 72 Valmara 69 (VS 69) anti-personnel bounding mine 12, 40; injuries caused 28 vehicle protection 77 victims x, 2, 38-39; care provision 80; injuries 26-9; rescue attempts 56-8; risk categories 34 Vietnam 3,14, 21, 72; mine manufacture 16,18 visible minefields 44 voltage-sensitive activation 10 VP-12/VP-13 mine-firing devices 5 VS-50 scatterable anti-personnel mines 14,15, 41 VS69 see Valmara 69 vulnerability 38-9; children see children; mines used as tools 42-4; refugees 34-6; risk categories 34; shepherds 27 warfare 20-24 warning posters 59, 74 World War 11,2 World WarH 1,2 Yugoslavia: mine manufacture 13

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