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The FARC: One Of The Armed Groups That Makes Greatest Use Of Land Mines In The World

By Dialogo
December 04, 2009

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group continues to be one of the groups that makes greatest use of anti-personnel mines in the world, Mary Wareham, a member of the NGO World Land-Mine Monitor, reported. “The FARC are one of the largest users of land mines in the world,” declared the specialist, also a member of the human-rights defense organization Human Rights Watch, at a press conference in Bogotá at which recent information on the fight against land mines in the region was presented. According to Wareham, only two countries in the world -- Burma and Russia -- continue to use anti-personnel mines, and estimates are that some thirteen non-state armed groups make use of these weapons. In the case of Colombia, according to a report by the NGO International Campaign for the Prohibition of Land Mines (CIPM), presented at the same event, the greatest challenges are demining, for which information is lacking, and providing better aid to victims. In the departments of Cauca (in the southwest of the country) and Antioquia (northwest), two complaints of possible mine use by the armed forces are also being investigated, Camilo Serna Villegas, a member of the Colombian campaign against land mines, told AFP. Colombia, where 6,696 land-mine accidents were reported between 1999 and 2008, is the country with the second highest number of land mines in the world, after Afghanistan. In Latin America, eight countries are still affected by mines: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. Nicaragua is expected to complete demining in 2010. Of the eleven countries that have done so in recent years, practically half are in the Americas (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Suriname).