Friday, September 28, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 28,2007) - The European Union Force (EUFOR) in Bosnia said yesterday they had handed over the full responsibility for mine clearance to the Bosnian Army, as a sign of a growing confidence in Bosnia's post-war institutions.

"The ownership and responsibility for all demining activities in Bosnia brings with it a sense of pride and progress for the armed forces" of the country, the statement from the EUFOR said.

EUFOR will also transfer ownership of demining equipment, vehicles, ground penetrating machines and the mine detection dogs, it added.

Almost 12 years since 1992-1995 Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia ended, landmines still litter more than four percent of the country's territory, representing some 2,000 square kilometres (800 square miles).

Some 1,500 accidents involving landmines and other explosives have since killed more than 400 people. A fifth of the victims have been under 18.

The work on mine clearance and removal of unexploded ordnance would be undertaken by newly established joint demining battalion.

However, "EUFOR will continue to support their demining activities offering advice and assistance to ensure a sustainable and effective demining organization," the statement from the EUFOR added.

Due to the improved security situation, the EU this year reduced its EUFOR peacekeeping force in Bosnia from 6,500 to some 2,500.

EUFOR, which took over from a NATO peacekeeping mission in 2004, is charged with military tasks set out in the Dayton peace accords that ended Serbian,Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

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