38 square KM of mines to be cleared in Kirkuk

Centre of Hawija south of Kirkuk after one month ousting ISIS in November 2017. Photo: Karwan Salihi

Soran Mohammed, Kirkuk

38 square KM of mines planted by Islamic State in Kirkuk province has not been demined, senior official of Iraqi ministry of interior said in a press conference in Kirkuk on Wednesday.

14,000 mines were dismantled in Kirkuk province up today, 50% of the mission, same number still to be cleared, last sweep of the ministry found a month ago, Zafir Mahmood, director of mines affairs in ministry of interior said.

ISIS has left behind mines planted all over 38 square km south and southwest of Kirkuk in 2014 to 2017. ISIS took control of one third of Kirkuk from Hawija, Zab, Rashad, Abbasi, and Riyadh till Multaqa.

 Beside unexploded ordnance (UXO) such as mortars and grenades, Islamic State militants ISIS left improvised explosive devices (IEDs) everywhere.

Zafir met Kirkuk local officials and pledged to spend more efforts into demining process to save lives of civilians. "We discussed the obstacles that demining teams and international NGOs face. Our goal is to clean Kirkuk province completely from mines and planted bombs to save lives of the IDPs returned home."

Non profit international demining organizations play a major role in deminig Iraqi territories from mines dated back to Iraq Iran war topped by the mines Islamic militants planted in the areas they ruled north and middle of Iraq.

Demining department has done a great job, Ali Hamadi, Kirkuk governor assistant for technical affairs said in the press conference. "Some farmers were killed by mines in Hawija so we do not want mines to be a threat for people and IDPs returned home."

  • FB
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YT