By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
March 4, 2013 (BENTIU) - A unexploded ordinance has been discovered in the Unity state capital, Bentiu, by the Dennis De-mining Group just 300 meters away from the office of the state run radio station Bentiu FM 99.
- Cons Wani, an employee of the Danish Demining Group, clears mud from a rocket propelled grenade that landed in Bentiu town during the Sudanese civil war, March 4, 2013 (ST)
The device - a 120 cm long rocket propelled grenade - was discovered on Saturday and was deactivated on Monday by a team from the Danish Demining Group who work with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
One of the legacies of the two decade civil war that led to South Sudan’s independence in 2011 has been a high number of unexploded ordinance (UXOs) still present across the young nation.
In Unity state, Mayom County is the most affected by UXOs due to conflicts between rebels - which Juba says are backed by neighbouring Sudan - and the South Sudanese army (SPLA). Last year, authorities said that a ten-year-old child stepped on a land mine in Ruathnyibol, Mayom county, while looking after cattle resulting in him loosing one of his legs.
In November last year three boys were injured and an 11-year-old boy was killed when they were playing with a rocket-propelled grenade in Nyueypiw.
Insecurity is a major problem for de-mining groups as illustrated in April last year when a de-mining group were arrested by the Sudanese Armed Forces in the disputed Heglig border area.
Cons Wani, who led the team deactivating the device in Bentiu, said that de-mining teams in South Sudan face many challenges, with some communities even demand money from de-mining groups when they operate in their area.
Landmines remain a major problem across South Sudan, which has a large number of amputees both from the civil war and people who have been injured since the 2005 peace deal. Some areas of the new nation still do not have access to mine risk education.