UNMAS condemns attack on deminers in Helmand
KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) on Wednesday strongly condemned a gun attack on a demining team of Demining Agency For Afghanistan (DAFA) in southern Helmand province, killing four workers.
In a statement, UNMAS said unknown militants shot dead three deminers hired from the local community and one site operations officer. One DAFA community section leader was missing. The statement said there was no known motive for the unprovoked killing of the humanitarian workers.
The incident took place at approximately 10:35am in Abbazhai village of Nahr‐i-Seraj district, where the DAFA demining teams were conducting their normal mine clearance activities when a group of unknown armed men arrived and attacked them.
In 2015, landmines, unexploded ordnance and PPIEDs claimed at least 23 civilian casualties. Helmand is heavily affected by mines and unexploded ordnance. A total of 109 known minefields cover an area of 68 sq km. Another six high explosive training ranges cover 338.7 sq km.
The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan, of which DAFA is a valued member, comprises over 43 organizations and employs 10,500 Afghans.
UNMAS condemned the breach of the understanding that deminers were neutral, humanitarian workers providing a service to communities in Afghanistan. “The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan will not be deterred from this important work by such attacks, which violate the most basic principles of humanity.”
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