Nepal Cleared of Landmines

Posted June 14th, 2011 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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Nepal has been declared free of landmines nearly five years after the end of its civil war, becoming the second Asian nation after China to receive the designation.

Nepalese Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal on Tuesday triggered the switch to blow up the last remaining minefield in the Pulchowki area, near the capital Kathmandu.

Nepal's army had planted landmines in 53 areas across the Himalayan nation during its war with Maoist rebels, which ended with a peace agreement in November of 2006.

The mines, which were placed around key military facilities and infrastructure, were cleared as part of the peace deal.

United Nations officials, who attended Tuesday's ceremony, say 78 people have been killed by landmines in Nepal since the peace accord was signed.

Prime Minister Khanal and U.N. officials say that although the minefields have been removed, the threat of unexploded bombs remains.