Swiss group de-mines in Talaimannar, Periyamadhu

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 April 2003, 16:48 GMT]
A Swiss de-mining organisation operating in the north said Thursday that it is expanding its team to clear more areas afflicted by land mines and unexploded ordnance. A spokesperson for the organisation, FSD, said that it has trained a new batch forty persons in mine clearing techniques, including twenty from the Humanitarian De-mining Unit (HDU) in Kilinochchi.

Mining team
In addition to these, four persons have been given medical training to treat injuries during mine clearing work.

Two groups trained by the FSD are already working in Talaimannar, a village on the western tip of the Mannar Island where the Sri Lanka Navy has a large presence and in Periyamadhu, an interior village in the region northeast of Mannar which is under the control of the Liberation Tigers.

The FSD team in Talaimannar, comprising 10 workers, has removed land mines and unexploded ordnance from 1172 square metres in the area.

Mining team
The team, working in civilian areas vacated by the Sri Lanka Navy and Police, removed 258 T72 type Anti Personnel Land Mines (APLMs), 10 P4 type APLMs, 3 claymore mines and an 81 mm mortar shell in the last 32 days, the FSD spokesperson said.

The second team of eight trained by the FSD and now working in Periyamadhu belongs to the HDU. Periyamadhu was a large village in the jungles east of the Mannar-Pooneryn road. It was abandoned when the Sri Lanka army built a major garrison there in 1998.

Villagers who were driven out of the area by the military at the time are still unable to resettle for fear of mine fields and unexploded ordnance left behind by the SLA when it was routed by the Liberation Tigers in late 1999.

The FDS spokesperson said the organisation plans to work in more villages vacated by the SLA in Mannar and Vavuniya.

Mining team

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