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29.09.2019 Angola

Angola says funding cuts have hit its mine-clearing work

By AFP
Prince Harry followed in his mother Diana's footsteps when he visited Angola to highlight their landmine-clearance programme.  By - (The HALO Trust/AFP)
SEP 29, 2019 ANGOLA
Prince Harry followed in his mother Diana's footsteps when he visited Angola to highlight their landmine-clearance programme. By - (The HALO Trust/AFP)

Angola may well miss its target of clearing the country of landmines left after the civil war by 2025 because of a loss of funding, said a senior official.

Adriano Goncalves, the head of the country's demining operations (CNIDAH), made the admission to reporters Saturday evening, following the visit of Britain's Prince Harry to observe mine-clearing work.

"Angola has more than a thousand minefields to clear but has lost around 90 percent of its international funding to fight this evil," said Goncalves.

"That makes it more difficult to free the country of these devices by 2025 at the latest," he added.

On Friday Prince Harry paid what he described as an "emotional" visit to a street in Angola that was still a minefield when his mother Diana visited in 1997, shortly before her death.

Diana campaigned to draw attention to the more than one million landmines planted during Angola's 27-year war, which started after independence from Portugal in 1975.

"There are still more than 1,000 minefields in this beautiful country that remain to be cleared," said Harry, questioning whether "that could still be the case" if Diana were alive.

"I'm pretty sure she would have seen it through," he added.

Goncalves told journalists on Saturday that as well as the loss of foreign backing, Angola's government had also cut its funding because of the 2014 fall in the price of oil.

In 2003, Angola signed up to the Ottawa convention that aims for the total eradication of landmines by 2025.

Landmines in Angola had injured between 40,000 and 60,000 people according to government estimates, he said.

And of the 3,000 minefields registered across the country at the end of the war in 2002, more than 1,200 were still to be cleared.

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