Kurdish female deminers clear local area of explosives


Ten Kurdish female deminers, the first group of its kind in Iraq, have been clearing mines dispersed across 
the Kurdistan Region’s border areas for seven months, defusing active explosive ordnances that pose a threat to those residing in the area.

Five days a week, the deminers working for the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) work to defuse mines at the Lalomari minefield which is 22,000 square meters, situated in the mountainous areas of Sharbazehr, Sulaimani province, near the Iranian border. The group has been working in the Kurdistan Region since 1992.

"I have fallen off the ground many times, injuring my hands, and hitting my hands with a hammer. But, thankfully, all went well... When you detect a mine, you become very happy, because you save someone else's life from death," Shaniya Mariwan, a deminer, told Rudaw’s Nizar Jaza last week.

Prior to starting field work, the deminers had to undergo six weeks of training.

According to data from local authorities, a total of eight people and more than a hundred sheep have so far been killed by mines.

Jabar Fatih, in charge of MAG activities in Sulaimani and Kirkuk, told Rudaw that, "they perform very well. There is no difference in performance between them and the men. They do the very same job.”

There are tens of millions of unexploded landmines and explosive ordnances across the Kurdistan Region’s borders with Iran, and the remnants date back to more than three decades ago, during the devastating Iran-Iraq war from 1980 to 1988.

There are around 3,000 minefields in the Kurdistan Region. Around 2,700 people have been killed by landmines and 10,800 others wounded or maimed since the 1990s, according to the KRG’s Mine Action Agency.


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