A new report from the Yemeni government is saying that 73 civilians have been killed in the past week as a result of errant land mines remaining in the southern Abyan Province, planted by the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) faction.
The group apparently planted the mines in response to a massive US-backed military offensive against the province, and the mines seem to be concentrated around populated areas in which the militants held sway.
Though officials were playing up the idea that they had removed large portions of the land mines, the reality is that existing minefields could remain a problem for years or even decades. Remnant mines and unexploded cluster munitions often kill people when the war they were originally intended for are all but forgotten.
The use of such weapons has come under fire in recent years for its tendency to kill large numbers of bystanders and to render portions of a country virtually uninhabitable for generations. Though several countries have signed a treaty banning the use of land mines and even more have signed a treaty banning the use of cluster munitions, heavy users like the US, Israel, India, Russia, China and Pakistan never have.
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