by Jim Bartlett, Editor-in-Chief
Part 1 · The Terrain
Part 2 · Why the War?
Part 3 · The Armies
Part 4 · Land Mines
Berserkistan's Landmine Survival Guide
The Earth Explodes
Landmines have been used extensively throughout Bosnia and Croatia. Estimates run as high as six million placed during the course of the war. Expect to find them in any area that has seen fighting between Serbs and Croats, Serbs and Muslims, or Muslims and Croats. Battlefronts of the Croatian war as far back as 1991 must still be considered dangerous unless declared officially clear by Allied military sources.
Even then, there is the danger of re-infestation if subversive groups remain active in the area. Fighting in central Bosnia between Serbs and Muslims/Croats in 1992 saw the establishment of fairly static fronts and danger areas were easily recognizable. However, this changed in 1993 when the Croatians and Muslim BiH went to war against each other. Areas that had never seen fighting fragmented into pockets, and new front lines were established all over the interior.
A Deadly Legacy
and Propagandists' Tool
The hidden land mine situation in Bosnia, like the proliferation of so many other weapons, is the result of the arms industry's never-ending production lines. Expect to encounter everything from an improvised device of the "soup can" variety to state-of-the-art plastic, non-metalic, anti-personel and anti-tank devices. Most of the minefields were never recorded when they were laid. They were simply forgotten when the fighting moved elsewhere. Locals may not be a reliable source for minefield information since some may have not been present during the fighting, returning only with the recent peace.
Areas scheduled to be handed over to an opposing side under the Dayton Accord should be considered especially dangerous due to the prevailing ill will between the parties, and the possibility of mining as a last act of defiance. Also, those unhappy with the current peace initiative may also be placing devices in an effort to disrupt peace initiatives.
Especially vulnerable to this kind of harrassment will be American troops due to the unwillingness the United States has expressed over suffering casualties in areas it feels are not in its immediate interest.
The number of land mines in the Balkans nears the number that have been buried throughout decades of warfare in Cambodia. There, one out of every 256 Cambodians is now missing a limb from inadvertently detonating such a device, an everyday occurence that plagues humans as well as livestock. Mine-clearing is a painfully slow, tedious and extremely dangerous process that is likely to continue for years despite the promise of new, automated mine-detonation robots.
Stalking Bosnia's Hidden Killers On A Landmine Mission with Belgian Troops
Landmine Hazards in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia
Landmine Awareness & Survival Techniques from Berserkistan
The Mine Awareness Training Course
The Landmine Control Programme: A Humanitarian Initiative
Global Landmine Crisis Global Ministries
Plastic Landmine Detection
MineFacts MineFactsİ is an interactive database program developed by the U.S. Department of Defense containing information and graphics on over 675 landmines from around the world.
Images ©1996 by Cynthia Lee
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