“Without a ceasefire I don’t think we will reach (the target), because we cannot jeopardise (our staff),” Alberto Augusto, the director of Mozambique’s National Demining Institute told AFP.

The country was due to complete demining the last bits of mined land at the end of this year but renewed clashes between government forces and the revived Renamo rebel movement could hinder that process.

The country stopped demining in central province Sofala late last year, after a number of personnel were injured during ambushes by armed Renamo sympathisers – a former rebel group that also acts as the main opposition party.

Mozambique was one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, a legacy of the war for independence against Portugal and a 16 year civil war that saw the demise of nearly 1 million people until it’s end in 1992.

As a signatory to the Ottawa Convention that banned the use of anti-personnel land mines in 1999, Mozambique was initially supposed to complete demining by 2009. That deadline was later extended to end-2014.

Mozambique will host 161 countries for a third review of the Ottawa Convention in June.

Source: Independent Online