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All landmines from Nicaragua's civil war cleared

media Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega speaking at the end of a landmine cleanup … Reuters

Nicaragua has cleared all of its nearly 180,000 landmines that had been planted during the 1980s civil war, Nicaraguan defence officials said on Tuesday.The announcement was made during the anti-landmine Ottowa Convention in Geneva.

"A total of 179,970 mines were destroyed in 21 years of constant work," said Juan Umana, a Nicaraguan ministry of defence official.

A large portion of the explosive devices were in 533 minefields in boarder or coastal regions. The landmines were placed throughout the country in over 1,000 sites in some 16 regions.

The elimination of landmines is good news for the civilian population – 87 people were killed while 1,147 were wounded by these explosions during and even after the civil war. The hazardous work killed six de-miners and injured 38 soliders.

"This is a key event. A region that was completely filled with landmines is now safe again. We congratulate Nicaragua for having finished its demining operations," said the convention's Norwegian chair Susan Eckey.

The anti-mine Ottowa treaty came into force in 1999, after 156 state parties signed up. Each of the countries have to destroy their landmines and stocks of landmines within 10 years of joining. Nicaragua and others have been given additional time to clear the area.

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