Afghanistan has the world’s highest number of children killed or wounded by landmines and other explosive remnants of war, followed by Colombia, according to a leading anti-landmine group. In its annual Landmine Monitor report, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC) said the number of recorded casualties of mines and other explosive remnants of war has decreased to the lowest level since 1999, but child victims have risen. In 2013, children made up almost half of the 2,403 civilian landmine casualties worldwide whose age was known, 7 per cent more than the previous year, the report said.
Children in general are more likely to deliberately handle explosive devices than adults, often unknowingly, out of curiosity, or by mistaking them for toys.
Report from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition
Boys, who tend to participate more in outdoor activities like herding livestock, gathering wood and food, or collecting scrap metal, are more likely to come into contact with mines and unexploded ordnance, the report said. In Colombia, the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), planted most of the landmines and explosive devices across rural areas as part of its 50-year war against the government. The conflict has made the South American country one of the most mine-scarred in the world.