By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) has announced the results of its mine-detecting and neutralization operations for December 2016.
The Agency checked and cleansed an area of 2,352,225 square meters, discovered and defused 1,068 unexploded ordnance (UXOs), one anti-tank and 13 anti-personnel mines in the country in the past month.
ANAMA’s operations involved 489 sappers, 130 people from administrative staff, six cars on mechanical demining and 34 service dogs.
During all years of activity, ANAMA cleared 393,832,826 square meters of the Azerbaijani territory discovering and defusing 754,010 pieces of unexploded ammunition.
In December, the clearance work was carried out in Absheron, Agdam, Agjabadi, Agstafa, Jabrayil, Fizuli, Gakh, Goygol, Tartar regions, in Baku and in Guzdek village of Azerbaijan.
ANAMA was established in 1998 for planning and coordination, management and monitoring of mine action related activities all over the country.
The UXO problem in the country can be divided into the areas of Azerbaijan that are still under the occupation of Armenian forces and those areas that have been liberated. The project is designed to create indigenous capacity to undertake survey, mapping and clearance in currently liberated areas and to prepare for dealing with the UXO problem in occupied areas after their liberation.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.