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Mines are an old problem, but what we have seen during the last 10 years is the result of explosives training received by FARC during the time of clearings. They got into the topic of mine fields while they were negotiating with the government in Caguán. It is a very complicated situation because all the armed groups have resorted to this practice.
2. Where are the anti-personnel mines planted?
Nowadays the most highly mined territory is Nariño because of drug trafficking that is absorbing all of the violence and all the conflict. Drug trafficking has become the articulating factor in Nariño, Caquetá, Putumayo and Catatumbo. The situation is so worried some, that drug trafficking maps and minefield maps are one and the same. There are areas where ELN works with Los Rastrojos, and in the other is FARC has joined forces with Nueva Generación in the drug trafficking business. They use landmines to protect their laboratories and illegal crops, generating terror in the community, seeking to stop military operations…
3. Are there new modes of antipersonnel mines?
There are the micro-mines, which are very small devices designed with the purpose of injuring and killing. They are often set up in the trees to cause injury to the face, ears and eyes, which generates great trauma and the rehabilitation costs are very high. Furthermore, FARC are forcing peasants to pay for the mines they step on by accident. That is the utmost cynicism. All of this in addition to the landmines set up around schools.
4. How many victims have the landmines caused as of today? How much is their rehabilitation?
Since 1990 until today there have been more than 8000 victims with amputations. The rehabilitation is a long process that costs no less than 110 million pesos per victim.
5. How complex is it to de-mine?
The conflict at Camboya ended 30 years ago and they are still trying to de-mine. The same happened in Vietnam. We have a greater inconvenience and it is that our landmines are homemade and we dont know how long they could last. For now the Armed Forces is the only one in the world doing that de-mining process, within the framework of a plan scheduled into 2019 that cost approximately 600 billion pesos.