The government announced today that of the 11 million landmines planted during WWII, the war of independence from France and the insurgency of the 1990’s, 3 million remain along the Algerian borders. These mines contaminate nearly 60 square kilometers along over 1000 kilometers of border on the East with Tunisia and West with Morocco.
The government signed and ratified the Mine Ban Treaty and has been active in international organizations working towards this end. Under this treaty Algeria is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas as soon as possible, but no later than 4/1/2012. Between November of 2004 and March of 2006, Algeria cleared only 6.2% of the mines on its eastern and western borders, and nearly 5000 mines laid by the Algerian army during the 1990’s still required clearance as of last March.
The mined areas are often not marked or fenced, and the total number of mine casualties in Algeria is not known. There are reportedly 7000 registered landmine and UXO (unexploded ordnance) casualties, and more than 500 widows and descendants of mine casualties who receive support. The Ministry of Interior and Local Collectives stated that between 1995 and 2005, mines and IED’s have killed approximately 4000 and injured 13000.
(Much of the data above is from the Landmine Monitor Report from 2006).