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19.6.10 Nicaraguan government has confirmed that 180,000 landmines from around 1000 known mine fields have been cleared, bringing to a close a long and painful chapter in the country's recovery from the crippling civil war of the 1980s and 90s.

The war had its roots in the country's revolutionary period which began in the 1960s but culminated in a military conflict between the socialist government, the Sandinistas and the US-backed 'counter revolutionaries' the Contras.

The war claimed the lives of 50,000 people, while over 1,256 civilians have been killed by landmines that were laid across the central and northern highlands of the country during the war, according to Colonel Spiro Bassi, Chief of Nicaraguan Army of Engineers.

This has severely undermined the economic potential of areas that could be used for agriculture and other industries.

Falklands - Landmine clearance work to begin in Falklands after quarter century wait However, the Nicaraguan army has been working to clear the entire country of its landmines and says that of the 1000 known landmine fields, all have now been cleared.

However, Hurricane Mitch dislodged many landmines and reshaped the landscape of some fields, making it impossible to tell if every single landmine has been removed from the country, especially in remote areas.

The success of Nicaragua's landmine clearing project has been applauded by the international community and hailed as an example for other countries to follow.


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