15th June 2021 19:17:04 Hours
Sri Lanka Army Humanitarian Demining Unit (SLAHDU) unit of the Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) as per instructions of the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva is expeditiously working towards the effective accomplishment of the national target for overall de-mining by the year end in 2022 after clearing all identified and hazardous areas of explosive remnants as stipulated in the original country plan of de-mining.
The SLADHU, the only the government entity to carry out demining operations in Sri Lanka since 2002 as the leading demining organization in the country has to-date cleared 886.19 sq km out of the entire mine and explosive-infested area of 1316.65 sq km, identified as hazardous in the north. All other international and local non-governmental agencies/organizations (INGOs) have so far cleared about 417.12 sq km. Accordingly, the remaining mine-infested land extent of 13.34 sq km area is yet to be cleared in the country to fulfill the national target and declare Sri Lanka a mine free country.
To its credit, the SLADHU has so far recovered 99,727 Anti-Personnel Mines, 223 Anti-Tank Mines and 42,919 unexploded ordnance or explosives during the Army demining operations.
The progress of the ongoing demining project was reviewed by Major General Nihal Amarasekera, Chief Field Engineer and Colonel Commandant of Sri Lanka Engineers, together with demining site Commanders during a recent conference at Boo Oya Field Engineer Brigade HQ, prior to a field visit, undertaken by him and a team of Senior Officers and Commanders to demining sites in the North during 12-13 June 2021.
They visited Andamkulam demining sites in Mullaittivu, Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts with the Commander of the Field Engineer Brigade, Brigadier Dumidu Jayasinghe and officers at Regional Mine Action Office. Afterwards, the Chief Field Engineer observed ongoing Humanitarian Demining operations and demining sites in Muhamalai and Palaly areas in order to evaluate and recommend further measures for progress of their demining roles.
During these field visits, the Chief Field Engineer highlighted the importance of reaching the national target by accelerating existing demining capacities as advised by the Commander of the Army and discussed other practical aspects, associated with ongoing clearing assignments in order for Sri Lanka to declare a mine free country by end of 2022 as envisaged.