Over 860,000 mines, booby traps removed

The army says over 860,000 mines and booby traps have been removed since the end of the war in 2009.

Brigadier Dhananjith Karunaratne , Commander of the Army Engineer Brigade said that over 80% of the initial 5000 square kilometers that had been heavily mined by the LTTE have now been cleared.

The Sri Lankan Embassy in the United States quoted the Brigadier as saying in a statement that over 470,000 antipersonnel mines, 1400 antitank mines, 390,000 booby traps, and other improvised explosive devices have been removed since the end of the conflict in May 2009.

The statement said that the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) of the United States has honored Sri Lanka Army sapper DKN Rohan and Mine Detection Dog Spartacus as the best Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Team for the year 2012. The Sri Lankan team was selected for the prestigious award out of 107 teams representing 11 countries.

Brigadier Dhananjith Karunaratne pointed out that support from MLI has assisted in the success of Sri Lanka’s humanitarian demining project, that recently enabled the completion of resettling nearly 300,000 internally displaced people.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U.S Jaliya Wickramasuriya congratulated the award-winning team and thanked the MLI for its genuine efforts to help Sri Lankan people.

“Before the internally displaced persons could be resettled, vast areas of land in the north and East needed to be cleared of land mines. The Sri Lanka Army worked quickly to handle the demining process , and they are benefitted greatly from the support of the Marshal Legacy institute and other NGO’s around the world”, he said.