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Algeria reports number of landmine victims of French colonialism

Image of a field with landmines warning sign [Adam Jones/Wikipedia]
A field with landmines warning sign [Adam Jones/Wikipedia]

Algeria has submitted a report to the United Nations that includes the number of landmine victims of French colonisation, which amounted to around nine million mines and caused the deaths of approximately 7,300 Algerians.

According to the official Algerian News Agency, Algeria has submitted its annual report for the year 2019 to the United Nations. The report accurately described the efforts exerted decades ago, in the area of ​​clearance or sensitisation about the dangers of these mines, which left 4,830 Algerian victims during the revolution and 2,470 victims after independence, and caused a disability rate of at least 20 per cent among those affected.

The report indicated that the largest number of victims of anti-personnel mines was registered in the main border areas since 1956, in the states of El-Tarif, Souk Ahras, Guelma, Tebessa, Tlemcen, Naama and Béchar provinces.

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According to the report, the total number of French mines in Algeria since 1956 amounted to around eight million and 800,000 anti-personnel mines, which required clearing 62,000 hectares of Algerian land, while the number of victims of those mines reached 7,300.

The document clarified that between 27 November, 2004, and 1 December, 2016, Algeria embarked on clearing mines from the most important border regions affected by the passage of the "Shal and Maurice" lines. This allowed the destruction of 1,035,729 mines (with a monthly rate of more than 1,750 mines), clearance of 12,418,194 hectares of land and the launching of forestation campaigns in cleared lands.

The report also highlighted the role of the authorities in providing social and health care to surviving anti-personnel mine victims. It also pointed to the continuity of the legal procedure that provides compensation to living victims of landmines, issued in January 1974.

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