SARAJEVO (Reuters) – NATO and EUFOR, its European Union successor force in Bosnia, will hand over to the Bosnian authorities about 800 aerial shots made after a war in the 1990s to help detect and remove about 120,000 landmines still scattered across the Balkan country.
NATO, whose 60,000-strong force had kept peace in Bosnia after a U.S-brokered peace deal ended its conflict in 1995, took aerial shots of close to 50 locations where landmines or other explosive ordnance had been planted.
They are now in the possession of EUFOR, which took over its military peace mission in Bosnia in 2012.
“The snapshots will help to (provide) a better insight into the situation in the areas contaminated with landmines that have remained after the war,” Bosnia’s Civil Affairs Minister Adil Osmanovic said after signing a memorandum of understanding with NATO and EUFOR commanders in Bosnia.
Bosnia plans to do a 2018-2019 assessment of the areas where landmines are still present, an EU-funded project that will serve as the basis for the country’s new anti-landmine strategy.
Bosnia’s Mine Action Centre (MAC) estimates that landmines are still present in about 1,000 square meters of the territory, the legacy of the war that killed 100,000 people and displaced more than a million.
MAC says that more than 600 people have been killed and more than 1,700 more have been wounded in landmine accidents since the war ended in 1995. In 2017 alone, three people were killed and four wounded in four such accidents.
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Richard Balmforth)