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27.09.2019 Angola

Prince Harry in footsteps of Diana to highlight Angola mine peril

By AFP
Angola is littered with mines from its 27-year civil war -- clearing the threat is slow and dangerous work.  By CECILE DE COMARMOND (AFP/File)
SEP 27, 2019 ANGOLA
Angola is littered with mines from its 27-year civil war -- clearing the threat is slow and dangerous work. By CECILE DE COMARMOND (AFP/File)

Britain's Prince Harry on Friday walked through a cleared minefield in Angola, tracing his late mother's footsteps to draw attention to a country that remains plagued by land mines.

Donning a protective visor and blue bullet-proof vest, Harry was almost the exact replica of Princess Diana when she famously walked across a cleared minefield near the central city of Huambo in 1997.

Diana was drawing attention to the more than one million landmines planted during Angola's 27-year civil war, which ended in 2002.

Just months later she was killed in a car crash in Paris, when Harry was 12.

"Landmines are an unhealed scar of war," Harry said in remote national park near the southern town of Dirico, where he detonated a mine from a distance.

"By clearing the landmine we can help this community find peace -- and with peace comes opportunity."

Harry also called on Angolans to protect the "unique wildlife" in the area, which lies 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from Huambo, near the border with Botswana.

"That river and those wildlife are your natural assets and if looked after will bring you unlimited opportunities within the conservancy-led economy."

Harry has had a long interest in landmine clearance -- he visited Angola in 2013 to see the work of the Halo Trust first-hand (file picture).  By THE HALO TRUST (THE HALO TRUST/AFP) Harry has had a long interest in landmine clearance -- he visited Angola in 2013 to see the work of the Halo Trust first-hand (file picture). By THE HALO TRUST (THE HALO TRUST/AFP)

The Duke of Susses will travel to Huambo later on Friday to view the iconic site where Diana was photographed and visit a recently-renovated orthopaedic hospital.

More than 1,600 people have been injured by landmines in Angola between the start of the war in 1975 and 2015, according to British charity Halo Trust.

Most casualties occurred in 2002 and 2003, when Angolans returned to their homes after peace was declared.

Diana was photographed meeting some of the victims during her visit.

"If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren," said the princess at the time.

Prince Harry travelled to Angola in 2013 to witness the clearing of a minefield organised by Halo Trust, a charity championed by Diana.

Baby face: Archie captured the headlines on Wednesday when Harry and his wife Meghan introduced him to South Africa's anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah.  By HENK KRUGER (POOL/AFP) Baby face: Archie captured the headlines on Wednesday when Harry and his wife Meghan introduced him to South Africa's anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah. By HENK KRUGER (POOL/AFP)

Harry -- Diana's second son and sixth in line to the British throne -- is on a 10-day tour of southern Africa, which he started in Cape Town with his wife Meghan and four-month old son Archie.

Duchess and baby remained in South Africa while the Duke toured conservation and HIV prevention projects around the region.

He visited Botswana before Angola, and is scheduled to fly to Malawi on Saturday.

The family will reunite in Johannesburg next week and complete the trip together before flying back on October 2.

str-sch/ri

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