UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is calling for stronger efforts to mitigate the risks for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) posed by landmines and improvised explosive devices in Africa’s conflict-ridden Sahel and Lake Chad basin regions. Since the beginning of 2020, there has been a growing number of fatal incidents involving forcibly displaced populations.
Mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and more frequent use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are resulting in a growing threat to host populations, refugees and IDPs. While it appears that the intended targets of numerous anti-government and non-state armed groups are the security forces, more and more civilians are indiscriminately killed and maimed.
Chad and Nigeria top the most affected countries in the lake Chad Basin. In the most recent incident in a refugee camp in eastern Chad on June 24, four refugee children aged from 9 to 12 were killed and three others seriously injured when they picked up an unexploded device and tried to open it.
Meanwhile, in northeastern Nigeria, some 230 people were killed by IEDs and more than 300 injured in 2019. More than 15 incidents have been reported so far in 2020.